City Council Regular Meeting - Minutes

Mon., Jan. 9, 2017

Mayor Drotzmann called the regular meeting to order at 7:00pm. Present were Councilors Myers, Gutierrez, Primmer, Hardin, Kirwan, Beas-Fitzgerald (arrived at 7:10 pm) and Smith. Councilor Davis was excused. Staff members in attendance were City Manager Smith, City Attorney Gary Luisi, Sergeant Clark, Chief Edmiston, Clint Spencer, Bill Schmittle, Roy Bicknell, Ron Sivey, Amy Palmer, Judge Creasing, Heather LaBeau, and Lilly Alarcon-Strong. News media present were Jade Mc Dowell of the East Oregonian and Michael Kane of NE Oregon Now. The pledge of allegiance was given.

Oaths of Office

City Attorney Gary Luisi administered the Oaths of Office to:

  • Municipal Judge- Thomas J. Creasing, Jr.
  • Mayor- Dr. David A. Drotzmann.
  • At-Large Councilors- Manuel Gutierrez, Doug Primmer, John F. Kirwan, and Rod S. Hardin.

Introduction- Dancing with the Hermiston Stars.

City Manager Smith stated due to tragic circumstances Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter was unable to attend tonight’s meeting to speak about Dancing with the Hermiston’s Stars. City Manager Smith stated Dancing with the Hermiston Stars will be on Saturday, January 14th at 7:00pm at Hermiston High School and encouraged the community to attend and support the event and the good causes they are representing.

Mayor Drotzmann stated Dancing with the Hermiston Stars is one of the great events the Desert Arts Council puts on and always seems to be sold out or close to being sold out. Tickets can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce and the Parks and Recreation Department.

Consent Items

Councilor Primmer moved and Councilor Kirwan seconded to approve all Consent Agenda items, to include:

  1. Minutes of the December 12th, regular City Council meeting.
  2. Minutes of the November 2nd and December 14th, Airport Advisory Meeting.
  3. Minutes of the November 9th, Planning Commission Meeting.
  4. Minutes of the December 6th, Faith-Based Advisory Committee meeting.
  5. Liquor License Application- “Off-Premises Sales, New Outlet” for Julissa’s Meat Market located at 292 W Hermiston Ave.
  6. Liquor License Application- “Off-Premises Sales, New Outlet” for Metro Mark located at 1120 W. Highland Ave.
  7. Announcement of standing committee vacancies for the unexpired portion of a:
    1. 3-year term beginning February 2017 and ending December 31st, 2019
      Budget Committee- positions #1, #2, and #3.
      Recreation Projects Fund Advisory Committee- position #2.
    2. Remainder of a 3-year term beginning February 2017 and ending June 30th, 2017
      Hispanic Advisory Committee- position #3.
      (Deadline for submitting applications is January 10th, 2017.)
  8. Confirmation of standing committee appointments for the unexpired portion of a:
    1. 3-year term beginning January 9th, 2017 and ending December 31st, 2019
      Recreation Projects Fund Advisory Committee- position #1- Don Rankin.
  9. Final replat – Ranch and Home, 2500 S Highway 395.
  10. Hermiston Urban Renewal District 2015-2016 annual report.
  • Motion carried unanimously.

(Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald arrived 7:10 pm)

Ranch and Home Store Development Agreement

City Manager Smith presented the Council with the proposed development agreement with George Dress to develop a Ranch and Home Store. Mr. Smith stated the City has been working with the Dress Family to develop a store for a couple of years and, at last year’s Goal Setting Session, one of the goals was economic development with an emphasis in retail development. There are two phases in the agreement:

  • Phase one: As an incentive of the development of the Ranch and Home store itself, if permits are secured by April of 2017 and occupancy by January 2018, then the City would reimburse building permits, system development charges, and $10,000 in reimbursements to extend the sewer line to the property. Extending the sewer line to the property will also open up the property behind Hermiston Foods for development. If these deadlines are not met, the reimbursements will decrease by 10% every month.
  • Phase two: The City is losing about $21 million in retail sales in just the grocery category. Based on statistics from the USDA, a sizable amount of Hermiston is considered a food desert because many residents live outside of a 1 mile radius of a grocery store that sells fresh fruits and vegetables. Therefore, the City has incentivized the Dress Family to bring in other development with them, specifically a grocery store of at least 25,000 ft2. This incentive would give reimbursements of about $180,000 of road improvements if completed by October 1st, 2018. Like the first incentive, the reimbursements would decrease by 10% every month if the deadline is not met. Both returns on investments would be received within the first year from property taxes.

Councilor Kirwan moved and Councilor Hardin seconded to approve City Manager Smith to sign the development agreement with George Dress to develop a Ranch and Home store. Motion carried unanimously.

Dancing with the Hermiston Stars

Mayor Drotzmann congratulated Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald on her being one of the Dancing with the Hermiston Stars participants and asked Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald to speak regarding her charity.

Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald stated her charity is relatively new and called Umatilla Morrow Hispanic Scholarship Foundation. Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald stated she will be dancing the polka and encouraged everyone to “like” her at Desert Art’s Council facebook page and donate what they can to the organization she has chosen.

Mayor Drotzmann thanked Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald for participating and trying to raise money for a local organization and wished her luck.

Renaming E. Airport Rd.

City Manager Smith stated as EOTEC has started hosting events there has been a lot of confusion and complaints, especially those from out of the area as there are two roads similarly named and in very close proximity of each other, those roads are: Airport Way and E. Airport Road. The Airport is located at the end of Airport Way, and City staff feels it would make the most sense to keep Airport Way as it is the street the airport is located on. E. Airport Rd was renamed in the 1990’s from its previous name of Moses Rd. If approved by the City Council, City staff would send in a request to the County for the name change as it is on a county road. County staff has already been contacted regarding the name change proposal. If approved, there would be a total of 19 businesses and residents that would need to change their address, although most are businesses and use a PO Box.

Mayor Drotzmann stated he has experienced the confusion first hand with both roads being named so similarly, but also understands the inconvenience it would be for residents and business owners on E. Airport Rd. But change is never comfortable, and if this issue is not taken care of sooner rather than later, the issue will continue to perpetuate.

Councilor Primmer stated it would be less of a burden to the City and the 9 residents and business owners to change the name of Airport Way then it would be for E. Airport Rd.

Councilor Myers moved and Councilor Hardin seconded to approve a request to the County to rename E. Airport Rd. Motion carried 5- 2; with Council Myers, Hardin, Beas-Fitzgerald, Kirwan, and Smith in Favor and Councilor Gutierrez and Primmer in opposition.

Elect Council President

Mayor Drotzmann opened the nominations for the two year term of Council President.

Councilor Kirwan nominated Councilor Primmer and Councilor Myers nominated Councilor Hardin as Council President. By show of hands Councilors Primmer, Kirwan, Beas-Fitzgerald, and Smith voted in favor of Councilor Primmer as Council President; and Councilor Hardin, Myers, and Gutierrez voted in favor of Councilor Hardin as Council President. With a vote of 4-3 Councilor Primmer became the new Council President.

November Financial Report

Councilor Primmer moved and Councilor Gutierrez seconded to approve the November Financial Report as prepared and presented by Finance Director Amy Palmer. Motion carried unanimously.

Committee Report

Conference Center Advisory Board: Councilor Kirwan stated the Board met earlier today and he feels the meeting went well as they were able to work through some issues and come to an agreement on funding going forward. A budget amendment should come before the Council in the spring. Mayor Drotzmann agreed.

Hispanic Advisory Committee: Councilor Gutierrez stated the Committee will meet on Tuesday, January 17th at 7:00pm.

Faith-Based Advisory Committee: Councilor Hardin stated the Committee met last week. Kriss Dammeyer has been hired as the Director for the Hermiston Family Promise and she has been doing a fantastic job organizing and putting this program together. There will be an informational meeting at the Library’s Lanham Room on January 19th at 6:00pm.  Kriss Dammeyer will be working with at-risk families in the community. She has incredible passion for this work and is doing a great job.

Mayor Drotzmann asked that anyone that may have an interest in working with at-risk youth or families as a mentor to please attend the information meeting on January 19th. Mayor Drotzmann thanked the Faith-Based Advisory Committee and Kriss Dammeyer for all their work helping the neediest people in the community.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Drotzmann asked that the Council email him regarding what committee’s they would like to serve on. After receiving this information, he will do his best to appoint Councilors to the committee’s they have chosen at the next City Council meeting.

Mayor Drotzmann stated he wanted to give a special thank you to Street Superintendent Ron Sivey and his team, along with the Parks and Recreation, Water and Recycled Water Departments as they have been working hard to clear streets and walkways of snow. Mayor Drotzmann stated he has been thanked by many people within the community about how well Hermiston does taking care of our streets, especially as there are a lot of communities that do not provide this service.

Mayor Drotzmann asked that the community stay engaged and involved in community activities, fundraisers, and events.

Council Report

Councilor Primmer asked that all resident please shovel their sidewalks to make it safe for those who are walking, and reminded residents that shoveling their sidewalks is a city ordinance.

Councilor Primmer stated today is Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. The Council thanked the police officers present and asked that they pass along many thanks to the rest of the law enforcement community for their service.

City Managers Report

City Manager Smith also thanked the Street Department for all of their efforts in clearing the streets, especially with equipment going down; but, Street Superintendent Ron Sivey was able to borrow parts needed from ODOT to get back on the road.

City Manager Smith stated the Downtown District Meeting has been cancelled due to the weather.

City Manager Smith stated Captain Johnson will be retiring from the police department this June. After going through the hiring process, and just this week, Chief Edmiston has appointed Sergeant Clark as the new captain. Sergeant Clark will begin job shadowing Captain Johnson and will take over this position once Captain Johnson has retired. Due to this opening, the police department will be recruiting to fill the open position(s).

The Council congratulated Sergeant Clark on his new position.

City Manager Smith asked that the Council please inform Executive Assistant Lilly Alarcon-Strong if they would like to participate in any upcoming events.


There was no other business, and the meeting was adjourned at 8:01 pm.

/s/Dave Drotzmann, Mayor

/s/Lilly Alarcon-Strong, Assistant City Recorder

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