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Mar-04-2008 09:50printcomments

Stayton Deals With Several Issues at Last Night's City Council Meeting

Ken Cartwright brings us up to speed on the latest news from Stayton city government.

Pioneer Park, in Stayton, Oregon
Pioneer Park, in Stayton, Oregon may see some improvements in the near future from an agreement struck at last night's meeting Photo courtesy: city-data-com

(STAYTON, Ore.) - A number of items were addressed at this week's city council meeting in Stayton, Oregon. City councilors present at Monday night's meeting were Scott Vigil, Steve Frank, Don Koenig, Don Walters, Tim Grimes and Mayor Virginia Honeywell.

First on the agenda was 16-year old Colton Bradley from Stayton who presented some signatures in support of a skate park. When he addressed the council he apologized for only having one hour to gather some signatures in support of the skate park, but did hand the city several pages of adult signatures as well as some suggestions for the skate park.

He was supported by 5 members of his school and one adult. Tim Grimes suggested that he keep pursuing this signature gathering and support for this project.

The public hearing was reopened for the voter approval of city annexations in Stayton. City Planner Dan Flieschman gave his staff report and reiterated the previous council meeting of two issues that needed to be resolved.

The first was the criteria for approval. Specifically, allowing the school district to be a part of the annexation filing. The new law that went into affect as of January first of this year, allows all school districts if the city council allows it, to be a part of the process of the annexation process if the city's population is under 10,000 residents.

If the school districts are allowed in the planning process, they can give a thumbs down on the annexation application if they feel they cannot support new students coming into the school district.

The second issue was the inclusion of "Need" for the annexation process. Flieschman said that there is nothing in the current code that requires need. Staff feels that the need criteria needs to be expanded. The question to the council is whether to limit the explanation of need or expound on it.

Councilor Walters is concerned that need criteria would allow the school district to stop any annexations if the council allowed it in the code language. Steve Frank asked why this language was brought in the new code. Flieschman responded that he felt it was a healthy way for cities to grow and because the new law allows it. Frank felt the language should be left in the code. Scott Vigil questioned why we need to add all this extra language to the annexation code when we already have the language to address annexations.

Opponents to the code annexation question were next. First to speak was Dave Neilson, former city councilor, who agreed with councilor Vigil in that there was too much language being entered into the this resolution. He felt that the only question the council needed to consider was whether or not to allow the residents of Stayton to vote on annexations of 3 acres or more... period. He added that the council already has the tools and language to accept or deny annexations without complicating the issue.

Larry Emery, former city council member, asked if the current language about allowing annexations of property if a known health issue with the property is known in advance would be left in the new code proposal. Dan Flieschman responded that it would, and that the reason it's there is to try and improve the property and health issue by bringing into the city inventory and hooking up to city water or sewage to eliminate the health issue for surrounding properties affected by the health issue.

Dan Neilson spoke again and said that he was confused about what our council is considering with this code language. He felt that the council were the stewards of the city and that we need to put less into the annexation code, not more, so that the council can easily make these decision. In other words, he said, we need to simplify the process, not complicate it.

Mayor Honeywell then closed the public hearing and asked the council to deliberate the issues. After the hearing and discussions that lasted over an hour and half, the council instructed staff to come back with a simpler proposal without the school issue and to remove the need and approval criteria wording for the next council meeting for a read and a vote.

The next issue before the council was a request from the Stayton-Sublimity Chamber of Commerce for a request for a fee waiver for use of the Pioneer park for the next Summer Fest car show and volunteer fire department breakfast.

Instead of the guaranteed fee of $500, they are asking for 1/2 of all proceeds they collect to be donated to the city but not to the general fund as it is now, so proceeda would go to park improvements.

Ron Storbee spoke about last year's car show raising over $800 for the city but was disappointed that the money went to the general fund instead of park improvements. The city council made a motion to accept the proposal with the chamber of commerce for a fee partnership. The motion passed 5 to 0.

Mike Faught, public works director, spoke about the city needing to draft a warrant of acceptance for a property donation from the Wampler family for a foot bridge to go from the old woolen mill property to the access road on the south side of the Salem ditch for public egress into the new River-front park. He said the Holmes II is ready to build the pedestrian bridge at no cost to the city and all that was left to do was acquire a small piece of property through a land donation from the Wampler family on the north side of the Salem ditch for footings for the bridge.

One other issue before the city was to develop a conservation play for the future and development of the park. After discussion, the city council directed the city administrator to sign a warrant for acceptance of a land donation from the Wamplers for the foot bridge. A motion was made and seconded. The council vote 5-0 to on this issue.

Ashley Engineering was awarded a bid for $39,200 for developing a a Stayton Public works play of standard.

The city council also agreed to sign a contract with the state to allow the state to build at no cost to the city a highway 22 improvement project. The only stipulation was that the city of Stayton would have to keep the vegetation watered in the surrounding vegetation planters. This was made into a motion, seconded and passed 5 to 0.

Dan Flieschman, city planner spoke about the grant opportunities for the city with regards to the acquisition of the Longhorn property and the Marion Street Green-way project. He said that in discussion with grant funding sources, he was told that the Marion Street Green-way project would have a better chance of funding than the Longhorn property.

The Marion Street Green-way project he said, and the council agreed, would be a better use of the resources as it's a project that the whole city can see and it is a key to the downtown revitalization project. A motion was made for the staff to prepare a grant proposal for the funding of the Marion Street green-way project. The council vote was 5-0 in favor.

It was suggested by the interim city administrator Chief Eubanks that a flier be inserted with the next water bill that was informational only about the forthcoming local option tax. After discussion amongst the council, it was suggested that the flier be inserted in both the April and the May water bills to give residents enough time to read the proposal before the May election. A motion was made and seconded and passed to 5-0 to have this done at a cost of $125 for printing of the fliers.

Finally in council business, Mayor Honeywell appointed this reporter, Ken Cartwright, to the city budget committee. She asked for a show of support from the city councilors with a vote. The vote was 5-0 in support of this appointment.

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