City Council Work Session - Minutes

Date: 
Mon., May. 9, 2016

Mayor Drotzmann called the work session meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Present were Councilors Myers, Primmer, Hardin, Beas-Fitzgerald, Gutierrez, and Davis. Councilor Kirwan and Smith were excused. Staff members in attendance were City Manager Byron Smith, City Attorney Gary Luisi, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan, Chief Edmiston, Bill Schmittle, Ron Sivey, Roy Bicknell, Amy Palmer, Clint Spencer (arrived at 6:28pm), Larry Fetter (arrived at 6:39pm), and Lilly Alarcon-Strong. News media present was Jade McDowell of the East Oregon (arrived at 6:05.)

Council Tablet Training

The Councilors participated in tablet training for the paperless agenda packet led by City Manager Smith.

City Hall Needs Assessment

City Manager Smith presented the Council with the City Hall needs assessment from Ascent Architecture. The needs assessment identified that the City would need to expand from 11,106 sq ft to 17,032 sq ft to accommodate accessibility for the public and the City’s 10 year growth prediction. The new City Hall would incorporate departments from: Administration, Finance, Planning, Parks and Recreation, HES, Building, Engineering, and the Municipal Court. The Municipal Court could be combined with Council Chambers to save space and resources like other municipalities have done. Although a new City Hall project will not be in the immediate future, and staff is not asking for a recommendation, City Manager Smith stated he wanted to bring this information to the Council as it was one of the items that came out of the Goal Setting Session earlier this year and ask the Council for feedback regarding this matter.

Mayor Drotzmann stated besides the current serious accessibility concerns and City growth, this would also be a great opportunity for the Police Department to expand into the space where the current Municipal Court is located.

Councilor Gutierrez stated he moved to Hermiston 22 years ago, at that time, this space was acceptable, but it no longer is. This building is not accessible to those with disabilities and is not large enough to accommodate the public during public meetings such as the Hispanic Advisory Committee where individuals overflow into the lobby.

The Council agreed that it is the City’s responsibility to make sure that City Hall facilities meet the needs of its citizens, visitors, and staff.

City Manager Smith asked the Council how important it would be to have City Hall remain in the Urban Renewal District.

The Council agreed it is a priority to remain in the Urban Renewal District and directed City staff to continue researching investing in a new facility.

Mayor Drotzmann ended the work session at 6:46 pm. The Councilor took a short break before the regular City Council meeting convened at 7:00 pm.