Friday, September 6, 2013

City Council seeks three new councilmembers

By Elizabeth Morgan

A note to those residents who would like to make a difference in the community by serving on Orofino City Council, here is your opportunity. There are currently three positions open; a councilmember’s term is for four years. Applications are available at City Hall and must be returned by Sept. 6.

A public hearing was held for each of the following items:

Fee increases

Burn permits will no longer sold for $2.50 but will now be available for $5. The permit will be good for 30 days.

The 10-year Wastewater Reserve Program will increase $5 beginning this October, until a $20 Cap has been reached in 2016. Fees from 2013-2016 will be placed in a Dedicated Reserve Program for future renovation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The new Reserve Program includes 150 Orofino/Whiskey Creek users as well as 850 city users.

The Budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 received a third reading and was passed. Annual Appropriation Ordinance No. 775 passed for the Fiscal Year beginning Oct. 1 2013, appropriating the sum of $15,046,110 to defray the expenses and liabilities for the City of Orofino.

Committee reports

At the city’s Building and Fire Committee meetings held in August, there was a discussion of City Ordinance 704 – Nuisance. Prosecuting Attorney Clayne Tyler was present to assist the council in finding a more efficient manner to dealing with the numerous properties that are repeatedly in violation of the Nuisance Ordinance.

Typically an owner is given 30 days to comply, and although this works for some of those in violation, often the property is cleaned up just enough to avoid prosecution, and allowed to return to its previous condition soon after, requiring the city to repeat the process all over again.

City officials are unanimously asking for a more aggressive approach when it comes to future nuisance violations. Owners will need to be in 100% compliance with the Building Official in cleaning up the property. Repeat offenders will no longer be given a time limit to comply, receiving a citation instead.

The Community Beautification Committee presented awards to the Winners for the Curb Appeal contest. The winner for the New Home Curb Appeal is Carol Crawford, and winners for the Existing Home Curb are Bill and Marlene Feldpausch.

Departmental reports

Building Official Todd Perry declared a building in the Riverside area to be dangerous. The owner received notice and has had 30 days to repair or demolish the property. In a recent inspection nothing appeared to have been done to comply. The owner will now be required to appear before the council to explain the reason for noncompliance.

Also up for discussion was the status of the zoning for the old school building. Now that the owners have been established it is now listed under the category of being owned by a private entity. But the city council still does not know the owners’ plans for the building.

An inspection is scheduled for the old section of the building among the State Fire Marshal and local Building and Fire Officials on Sept. 4. Once plans are made the city can go forward with safety requirements. The building was zoned P for public. Once a private entity purchases the building the zoning would typically be reverted to a C-2 Zone. More information and discussion will be necessary to proceed.

Enhanced patrol

Police Chief Jeff Wilson informed the council that in addition to the enhanced patrols for impaired driving, there was also an enhanced check on commercial vehicles this past week due to the number of complaints from the telephone company regarding lines being pulled down by trucks loaded too high. Several vehicles were cited for being overweight and only one for exceeding height. Patrols will take place later in the fall as well,

The speed trailers will be out throughout town and residential areas, to help remind drivers of reduced speeds and to use extra caution near schools and crosswalks.

Wilson also announced that his department was gearing up for Fair Days. Signs will be posted the night before the parade to help clear cars off the parade route. “We almost always have two to three vehicles that are left on the street. We plan to close Michigan Avenue to through traffic a little earlier this year. It would be nice for once to have the whole parade route from B St. on Michigan, up Johnson, and all the way to Les Schwab, clear for the parade,” he added.

There will be one-way traffic on Brown and Kalaspo avenues during the parade. Everything will be blocked off Michigan Avenue between B and A streets beginning at 9:40-9:50 a.m. for the parade.

Mike Martin, Supervisor for Water/Wastewater informed the council of the continued progress of the new water plant. Work crews will return after Labor Day and leave again before Lumberjack Days. He also mentioned that one of the city’s dump trucks was cited for being overweight, recently.

Fire Chief Mike Lee claimed he would be praying for rain from now till the end of summer. Many of his crew was out helping neighbors fight fires. Lee also confirmed that no fires of any kind would be permitted.

Council comments

It was mentioned that the sound system is still in need of updating, with continued comments of the public not being able to hear.

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