Minutes January 13, 2015
January 13, 2015
The Enterprise City Council met in regular session on Monday, January 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. Those present were Mayor Steven Lear; Councilors Dave Elliott, Jenni Word, Bill Coffin, Larry Christman, Laura Miller, Stacey Karvoski; City Attorney Roland Johnson; Staff Denine Rautenstrauch, Ronnie Neil, Michele Young
Guests: Tim Parks, Joe Volpe, Lacey McQuead, Sharon Sherlock, Sondra Lozier, Kathryn Lear, Tera Elliott, Brian Rahn.
Press: Rob Ruth of the Wallowa County Chieftain and Katy Nesbit of The Observer.
Pledge of Allegiance
Swearing Inn of Mayor and City Councilors
Michele Young swore in incoming Mayor Steven Lear and Councilors Jenni Word, Laura Miller and Dave Elliott.
Councilor Coffin made and Councilor Miller seconded the motion to approve the December 8, 2104 minutes. Motion passed unanimously.
Mayor Lear asked if everyone read a letter received from Carrie Gagen regarding heavy traffic around 'Heavenlys Restaurant, the Bales Mobile Mix Concrete cleaning his truck in the alley behind Heavenlys. Ronnie will look into the complaint regarding Bales. Michele stated this is a commercial zoned area. No action taken
City Engineer contract – Michele stated that we now have final contracts and Roland has reviewed it. Roland felt the contract met our conditions. Councilor Elliott asked what the need for an appointed Engineer is and did we go out for bid. Staff reported that we use a City Engineer for a variety of issues such as Land Use applications, surveys, local infrastructure improvements. This does not apply to large capital projects like the water project. Michele stated that the City did advertise and mailed out RFP's, Anderson Perry was the only firm that submitted a proposal.
Councilor Christman made and Councilor Miller seconded a motion which passed unanimously to approve the 3 year contract with Anderson Perry as submitted.
Michele stated that Jerry Hays has not received the updated information the council asked for on cost as his contractor has not provided him with an updated cost on using the brick past Mayor Margie Shaw donated. No action taken on the sign. Councilor Christman told the Mayor that we had a design put together for a sign that was approved for $1200. Past Mayor Shaw and Councilor Tim Parks were the committee for the sign. An increase of $800 was needed due to the cost of the rock and the council became split on whether to spend the extra money.
Michele Young and Roland Johnson updated the City Council on the status of the Easements for the water project. We have everyone in agreement now but still have some work on the Stangel easement.
ELECTION OF COUNCIL PRESIDENT
After proposals made to appoint both Laura Miller and Jenni Word as Council President a final vote was taken. Councilor Miller made and Councilor Karvoski seconded to appoint Councilor Jennie Word as Council president. Motion passed with 5 in favor and Mayor Lear and Council Coffin voting for Laura Miller. Councilor Word is the Council President.
COUNCIL COMMITTEE ROSTER ISSUED BY MAYOR LEAR
Mayor Lear stated the committee appointments are in the Council Handbooks. Councilor Karvoski asked that herself, Councilor's Miller and Word continue working as a committee on Personnel Evaluations. Mayor Lear agreed.
Mayor Lear added himself to the Public Works committee.
COUNCIL RULES AND CODE OF ETHICS
Michele stated that each Councilor has been given a Councilor handbook. Within that book is the City Council Rules and Code of Ethics. She asked that all Councilors have the Code of Ethics form signed and returned to her.
Mayor Lear stated that councilors and staff can go on the LOC website for trainings they offer, they are about 15 minutes long.
NEW PLANNING COMMISSION APPOINTED
Councilor Coffin made and Councilor Word seconded the motion to appoint Margie Shaw to the Planning Commission for a 3 year term.
Mayor Lear's Vision Statement
Mayor Lear presented to the Council his vision during the next few years. During the 10 years he has been here in the city he travels around to small cities, of all of the ones he has gone to, there isn’t one that can outshine us. Whether the streets, parks, courthouse etc. He would like to change the term of Mayor from 2 years to 4 years. He does not feel it is a long enough time to get evolved. It would require a Charter Change, he would like to have that in the back of the councils minds. He would like to see some kind of reform to either a City Manager or a Strong Mayor. There are advantages to both. He believes there should be a place where the buck stops, they are still responsible to the council. He would like to see us go to that kind of leadership. He keeps hearing about salaries of city employees. His position is real clear on that, our salaries are not in any way out of line, his concern is that both parties aren't getting their monies worth. Are we giving as a council enough direction to adequately do their job well or are we having these standards out there so we can run in an orderly fashion. He feels good personnel reviews are good for an organization. Everyone has to be accountable, Council and Staff. It is a healthy way to report about the things people do. Street talk is that we have a tendency to be inconsistent in our ordinance execution. Some ordinances we don’t enforce or we lack enforcement. Either way if we have an ordinance that doesn’t make sense lets change it or abolish it. They love to nit pick what we enforce. Lets enforce them all or change them.
Mayor Lear asked how are we going to sell our city. We need to sell our city to the citizens. Some how citizens feel they do not get information but he has found we go overboard. We have to continue to sell the city to our own citizens and to the outside.
This is a wonderful city and we can be compared to anyone in the state.
Admin. - Michele stated that we need to set up new signatures for the bank accounts. Normally the Mayor and Council President are the signers. Michele asked Mayor Lear if he was going to be available to sign checks since he was going to be absent a lot. Mayor Lear felt he would be available. It was decided to have Mayor Lear and Councilor Word be the additional signers on the bank accounts.
Michele stated that the audit was late this year. This time it was because of the change from accrual to cash. We should have it by the next council meeting.
Library - Denine reported that she feels we are getting closer to getting grants to finish the Library Improvement project. Councilor Coffin complimented Denine.
Police - Wes is out of town at the Chief's conference but a written report was submitted for citations and calls.
Public Works – Ronnie reported that we had two trees top out at the Park, one of them fell on the Ice Rink and damaged it. The Ice Ink volunteers helped with cleanup and the Public Works hauled it off. Ronnie asked what the council wanted to do, do they want to remove the trees or leave them there. After discussion the Council felt we should leave them.
Mayor Lear called for an Executive Session as advertised as allowed by ORS 192.660(20(d) to deliberate with person(s) designated to carry on negotiations. Mayor Lear asked the audience to leave the Council room and they were welcome to come back when the public session is re-opened.
Mayor Lear opened the Public Session.
Issue #1 - Councilor Miller made and Councilor Karvoski seconded the motion to approve the 3 year Police Contract as presented. Motion passed unanimously.
Issue #2 - Councilor Karvoski made and Councilor Word seconded the motion to give the Department Heads compensation as discussed. Motion passed with 4 in favor and Mayor Lear, Councilor Elliott and Coffin opposed. Motion passed.
Councilor Christman stated that he heard Mayor Lear's campaign ad on the radio, but when he read the article in the Observer that we needed to make sure we could get everything we could out of our employees, that we needed to make sure our Department Heads were doing their job, we needed Leadership it bothered him immensely. I don't know how many people called me, they were asking me what the hell are you guys doing. We need a Mayor that is in charge? Councilor Christman stated your vote is not any more important than my vote. You stated we got to do something about our employee's because we're not getting enough time out of our employee's - that is the message you sent to our community with your ad on the radio and also your statement in the Observer. I was very pleased to hear you say tonight that our city is second to none. Mayor Lear said he has always felt that way, Councilor Christman stated that that may be how you feel but it is not what you printed. It is very disturbing because I can stand on the street corner and ask how many people eat at Lear's and poll 40 people, and I can have 20 that say yes and 20 that say no, it doesn't mean that Lear's is not a good place to eat. But when you say we got to do something about our employee's , that we don't get enough time out of them, that is exactly the message you sent. Mayor Lear stated that what he stated on the radio he meant but he was never interviewed by The Observer. Councilor Christman stated he is not sure that they aren't direct quotes from his radio ads. Mayor Lear stated that as far is he is concerned everything he said on the radio is what he said tonight, changing the Mayor's job, having a City Manager or Strong mayor, to make sure both parties are getting their monies worth, that we have a pass and review system and that we are enforcing all Ordinances. If they get out of that that I disrespect the workers or any individual; that I don't feel comfortable with our city employees is not what he said, it was not a negative campaign or slur against anyone, he did not intend it to be taken that way.
Mayor Lear asked Michele if she felt that way, Michele answered that yes, she felt it had negativity to it. Mayor Lear stated he doesn't know how to fix it. Michele stated that one of the things that we talk about is that it would be really nice to have the Council fully understand what we do. To make the statement that we don't enforce our Ordinances is a really broad comment. It is impossible for us to spend all of our time in the ordinance book just going around town enforcing ordinances, we don't have the staff to do that. So there is a lot of ordinances that we spend a lot of time trying to enforce and then there are ordinances that tend to be more complaint driven. Those ordinances tend to be ones that don't have a lot of violators. An example would be, Ronnie came in the office yesterday and provided Michele a list of 3 address's that are in violation of either the right of way or set-back ordinances. We do take the time to go do that but it is not something that we only have time to do. While I understand what you said, but when you say that to the public, they then say yeah, they don't enforce. People relate to how it impacts them personally, it is just that way it is. We have neighbors all of the time come in and tattle on their neighbor, they may not get along and we get brought into that all of the time.
Michele stated that for us, that kind of comment sends a message saying we are not enforcing our ordinances. Michele stated that we do, but we don't just do that, it is a huge job to just enforce ordinances. Michele stated that she has been here 27 years, her Municipal Code book is something she refers to daily in her job When we had snow for example, Wes drove around town identifying places that did not clear snow from the sidewalks. We get a lot of complaints from pedestrians when people aren't shoveling snow or we get the complaint for business's complaining about business's not shoveling snow. No matter what we do, we are the bad guy because we are enforcing the ordinance. Michele stated that you "Mayor Lear" may not have meant it that way but words are a funny thing.
Mayor Lear stated that he did mean it that way. It was a reflection of what he hears on the streets, he probably should have said it in a different way. There is a lack of confidence generally in the community. We need to bring them together and sell them on who we are and what we do. Councilor Karvoski stated that people have a responsibility to find their own information. The city has done a lot of stuff on a lot of projects, our website, you cannot spoon feed people. Eventually people have to take the initiative to come to City Hall or turn on their computer to find out information, the city cannot be responsible for people not making any effort to get information.
Councilor Elliott stated it is not the information, it is the perception. That is what we have to change, the public's perception of the city government and it is our responsibility to change that perception because people are not going to come into city hall and ask Michele. They are going to gripe to their neighbor and then they are going gripe to their neighbor, then it all gets blown into something bigger. We need to be able to do something that shows the people that we are here looking out for them. That the City of Enterprise is not the City as a club, the City of Enterprise is the people of the city. They have to have the feeling that we are here for them and right now they don't feel that way. Councilor Miller stated that everyone will have
a 1% -5% complaint ratio, not everyone is going to talk about the 95% that is not complaining and changing that 1% or 5% or whatever that negative is, that is also up to that individual. Councilor Miller said that it is wonderful that you are on the council but look at our room, it should be full with the number of people that have all of these complaints. People don't want to be responsible for not reading the newspaper, read the information the city sends out. They would rather hear the gossip of their neighbor than to look and find out themselves. Michele stated that we do get a lot of people that come in. We don't just get complaints. We get a lot of people that call and thank us. Public works we complimented for going out so early and getting the snow removed from the streets because no one else does that. Councilor Miller stated that the positive is not gossip.
Councilor Elliott stated that the positive is what changes peoples perception, the public perception is them against us. Denine stated that she agrees with Councilor Elliott but this is a brand new council and they have a wonderful opportunity to change things. Things have gotten really bad over the last few years about the talk of the city. One of the things that happens is we have had council members that go out of this building of which the public perception is that the council are well informed people, then go out and say terrible untrue and slanted things about city employees and the way the city does things. You cannot blame the public, this person is supposed to know what they are talking about, and one of her pet peeves which she is going to just lay out for the Ciouncil is council member would go out after a decision made by the council and then say those no good city employees, that is what has been happening the last 10 years. Our city which used to have a lot of civic pride and people didn't fight, the attitude was Enterprise is ours and we are going to do the best we can. Then people who knew better on the council which we are getting called to task for doing it, were going out and about saying incorrect flat out lies but because they were in a position that they should have know and people trusted them, we are still dealing with this. Denine told the Council they have an opportunity to change that, by saying the city is great, we can accomplish anything we want, you will change that perception. But if you go and say the city is no good and we don't do anything that will be the perception.
Councilor Word stated that there are a lot of things that we won't agree on and she feels that is valuable to a group but when we do leave we need to have that united front and this is the decision the council made. We made it for the best interest of the city, the community, employee's or whatever. We discussed it, not saying anyone here does it but don't go out and say "Stacey does it every time, I can't believe she goes for this stuff..." We made this decision as a group and you may not agree but you leave here supporting it. Michele stated that it is also in the Council Code of Ethics, once a vote is taken by the council you stand together and support the final vote of the council. You don't go out and say don't hold me responsible for this as I didn't vote for it. You have to show support as a council for the final vote. Michele stated that the Council does have an opportunity here. You all come from different walks of life and we count on you to provide those policies for us. We have an opportunity to get Enterprise back on top because what Denine said is very true. The last ten years has been a hard battle.
Councilor Christman stated that one of the things that the public will soon see is a savings benefit from the Water project. Our fire rating has decreased. Michele stated that she remembers when Margie Shaw brought that up at the public meetings at the Cloverleaf that our fire rating was going to decrease and there would be a savings on homeowners insurance. Michele said that people laughed at her, Michele stated that she was shocked that people laughed at Margie. You can go to your insurance and ask the question that if the fire rating is reduced will I see a decrease. Michele did that and was told the amount it would be reduced by. Insurance keeps increasing so who knows how or when it would appear. We went from a 6 to a 4.3. Our goal was to get to a 4. One of the failures we have is we don't celebrate our accomplishments to the public as well as could. Mayor Lear stated that we do not sell the city.
Councilor Elliott stated that if you could get the insurance to give some kind of percentage, we could get the newspaper to write an article. The point is getting the information out there. What Michele has seen from the business's and you will see this everywhere, if we show that we have pride in ourselves the community will also. Michele used a firehall/cityhall as an example. When cities save and build a Fire hall and City hall that shows pride, the community reacts very positively. You can't wait for others to do it for you, we have to do it with ourselves with pride. Michele felt the conversation tonight was very good. Denine added the we understand that your positions are 100% volunteer and you are make some very large important decisions.
Michele told the council that she had spent 1 1/2 years trying to get a policy changed with DEQ because she was still angry over the Sewer project regarding how it was handled. She felt DEQ came in with their regulations but never actually sat at the table with the city council. It was like throwing the council to the wolves. Treating sewage is not what a volunteer city council member has day to day experience with. DEQ has since established new policy, the City of Cove Michele thought was their pilot project with DEQ being more proactive in projects. Michele stated that she recognizes how hard it is for you the council in some of these decisions and the enforcing agencies need to be more helpful, It is hard enough for us as staff to swallow regulations thrown at us.
Mayor Lear stated we need to find a way to get people to be involved, they need a place to vent. Michele stated that we now have people looking forward to the water project because they now understand the benefit, there is a economic benefit to keeping our infrastructure in good condition.
Mayor Lear thanked Larry for bringing this up tonight. He does not know how to fix it, you can judge me by my actions. Mayor Lear apologized if he insulted anyone in this room. Councilor Christman stated he spent 44 year as a School Administrator and it is not easy, your going to have people complain to you all of the time. Mayor Lear stated he is a true believer that if you have a complaint, put it in writing so we can address it. These people that complain we need to make them our advocates. Michele stated that she tries to make herself available when people want to complain or aren't happy with a decision. She tries to explain it and show them, not always is it the answer they want to hear but at least they understand. Michele stated that the difference between the private sector and the government is that in the private sector you can choose where you want your car fixed or where to eat or what Hospital to use. You can't choose where you get your permit, who provides you your water or sewer if you live in the city. So we have to learn to treat our citizens as our customers.
Mayor Lear thanked everyone for their input. Being no further business the meeting was adjourn.
Steven Lear, Mayor
Michele R. Young, City Admin./Recorder