Friday, August 2, 2013

Business as usual, and plenty of it, at Orofino City Council meeting

By Elizabeth Morgan

At the City Council meeting held July 23, amendments to the agenda, minutes of the regular council meeting held July 9, bills, both regular and additional, and payroll ending July 13 were approved.

The next item on the agenda pertained to the adoption of the Tentative Budget for the Fiscal Year of 2014, City Administrator Rick Laam noted recent adjustments to the budget made since the last City Council meeting. They include a slight adjustment in the Police maintenance line item (anticipated cost of tires for police vehicles) and a 2.5% Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) which was removed from the last budget overview to help minimize carryover but was added back in for Council consideration. All other reductions and decreases in the last budget have not changed. The total dollar difference between the budget presented July 9 and the Tentative Budget is $30,360.

The proposed 2014 Tentative Budget once adopted cannot be increased but can be decreased during the final adoption set for Aug. 27, 2013.

Petitions, Applications, Appeals and Communications

Kim Browning on behalf of the chamber of Commerce requested that the downtown parking issue be presented at the next regular meeting due to some last minute changes.

The Special Use Application submitted by Joey Vaughn to convert the second story of the former Stone Mountain Archery building into two separate apartments was approved by the board, with special conditions, The commercial building located on Hwy. 12 is currently zoned C-2 (Commercial) which prohibits residential living.

The Board recommends the following conditions: the applicant follows all building codes, provides storage and permanently assigned parking spaces for tenants. The space on the ground floor can not be utilized for a business which might impose hazardous conditions for the tenants living above, such as welding, which was discussed initially in the request, but has changed according to the owner since.

A letter from Rebecca J. Vaage, the City’s Civil Attorney, explains that her contract with the City expired the end of May. The current contract is slightly higher to reflect the rising costs in her practice. The Board approved to accept the change to the contract.

In June the US Army corps of Engineers conducted a Continuing Eligibility Inspection of the Orofino Flood reduction Project. The purpose of this inspection was to ensure that the city’s projects continue to meet the requirements for Corps’ rehabilitation assistance should they become damaged as a result of an unusual flood event.

Public Works Supervisor John Barton reported that the Orofino Flood Reduction Project is rated “Minimally Acceptable.”

There is a small area of the flood wall that has collapsed. This is at the base of the wall, just downstream of the curve at the confluence of the Orofino Creek and the Clearwater River. This area is identified in this year’s report as in previous reports. The Army Corps Levee Safety Officer recommends this area be repaired before additional deterioration introduces the need for more difficult and expensive rehabilitation.

The vegetation along the levee does not meet the Corps requirements and was rated “Unacceptable.” During the inspection one particular tree was identified for removal because it was located just behind the grouted stone wall. 

Committee Reports

The Street committee passed the second reading of Traffic Ordinance 10.5.19 in their July meeting.

The Community Beautification Committee met July 16 to discuss the judging of the 2013 Curb Appeal Contest. Councilman Gardner reported that a winner was selected and will be announced in the near future. There were a total of five applicants for this years contest.

Departmental Reports

Administrator Laam mentioned that the city was still interested in taking a look at the Health and Welfare building in consideration for the future site to house City Hall. Plans to do so were still under way.

Treasurer Pam McGuffie presented several reports including Monthly Expenditures and Payroll, and asked for questions. She noted that figures in the Revenue Recap from Avista were usually higher; her guess was that like everyone else - it is just taking longer to collect from the customers.

Building Official Perry had several items to discuss before the Council. In his yearly review of Special Use permit for Mandy Barlow to keep a single horse on Dworshak Rd., he found the facility clean, free of manure, with access to adequate shelter, food and water.

An unannounced visit to Sisterly Love Daycare confirmed adequate child to staff ratio. The center was clean and the visit was during lunchtime which can be a rather chaotic, but all children were happy, and well supervised.

Shaun Riley received notice of an expired business permit for small engine repair on Bartlett St. Permit must be renewed in order to continue business.

Other news from Perry indicated that the Planning and Zoning Committee held July 16, discussed the zoning of the old Jr. High School building. New ownership has raised the question of as to how the property should be zoned. Lastly, a trailer home had been posted unsafe for habitation on July 18.

Public Works Supervisor John Barton stated that routine maintenance rounds were just completed for Highways 7 and 12; The county had just completed dust abatement with the exception of Dawson. Crews have spent a lot of time down at the park with a busy schedule there. They are having a difficult time keeping everything green due to shutting off the sprinklers three to four days at a time for events.

Public work crews assisted OPD with traffic control, during last week’s fire.

Paving of the streets on Riverside were completed by Herco. Barton was pleased with the quality of work performed.

Police Chief Jeff Wilson reported bigger cases and more service calls to be among the reasons his officers stay so busy. The department is currently investigating the distribution of counterfeit bills. Only two bills have been discovered, but more are likely to surface in the coming weeks.

Supervisor Mike Martin reported for Water/Wastewater Department and gave an update on the water plant as well as the divers who arrived to clean and inspect the water reservoir on Canada Hill as well as the one on Adams Rd. The company made a brief video while in each of the tanks, depicting cleaning and offering recommendations for future maintenance.

Supervisor Martin shared about five minutes of one video at the council meeting. In each tank approximately three-quarters of an inch of sediment was vacuumed off the bottom floor. Divers pointed out areas of concern. The reservoir on Canada Hill is worse of the two and older. It was built in the early 70’s and re-lined in the late 90’s. The reservoir on Adams Rd was in better shape having been constructed in 1999.

Martin also hoped to have a presentation on the progress of the water plant put together by the next meeting.

Fire Chief Mike Lee gave a brief recap of the fire in Orofino last week. “We were extremely lucky to have hit it with the equipment we did.” he said of the five helicopters, five airplanes, four fire districts, C-PTPA, The Department of Lands, and the Forest Service who all worked together to extinguish the fire. Twelve residents were evacuated, and no structures were lost. One firefighter was hit with a rock and that seemed to be the only injury associated with the fire.

The fire that took place at Tri-Pro on Monday, July 22, was “a log loader, it was engulfed pretty much destroyed by the time fire crews got there. It continued to burn. Fortunately, it wasn’t parked near a logging deck or we’d still be fighting fire.” claimed Lee.

In the first 15 minutes, 4,500 gallons of water were used to try and put the fire out.

Mayor Smathers thanked everyone involved for their help and thought the efforts of all were outstanding.

Amendment to Traffic Ordinance No. 744

The second reading of the Amendment to Traffic Ordinance No. 744, Section 10-5-19 passed.

Council comments included Councilmember McLaughlin’s praise to the Public Works Department for maintaining the City Park so nicely with all the events that take place throughout the summer. Mayor Smathers commented “Just this week there were two tournaments, two weddings, two reunions, Dworshak’s anniversary and a cook-off.” The success can be attributed to the city staff, involved with the events, on a volunteer basis.

The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, at 6 p.m., in the Council Chambers located at 217 First St.

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