City Council Regular Meeting - Minutes

Date: 
Mon., Jun. 26, 2017

Mayor Drotzmann called the regular meeting to order at 7:00pm. Present were Councilors Hardin, Beas-Fitzgerald, Myers, Primmer, Gutierrez and Smith. Councilor Davis was excused. Staff members in attendance were City Manager Byron Smith, City Attorney Gary Luisi, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan, Chief Edmiston, Clint Spencer, Tom Creasing, Nate Rivera, and Lilly Alarcon-Strong. News media present was Jade McDowell from the East Oregonian. The pledge of allegiance was given. 

Citizen Input on Non-Agenda Items

Jackie McCoy 890 W Orchard–Would like to know what the status is at Greenwood Park.

City Manager Smith stated from what he understands, the playground equipment is on back order. This is also the case with Sunset Park improvements. Mr. Smith will have Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter give her specific details if she leaves her contact information with him.

Karen Primmer P.O. Box 1522– Asked the Council to consider changing the name of Airport Way. Mrs. Primmer stated there was an accident on Airport Way and people were calling in the accident stating the accident was on Airport Rd, which could have caused some confusion and delays for emergency responders.

The Council briefly spoke about changing the name of Airport Way as County Commissioners indefinitely tabled the discussion regarding renaming Airport Rd.  

Consent Items

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

  1. Minutes of the April 5th, Airport Advisory Committee meeting.
  2. Minutes of the May 10th, Planning Commission meeting.
  3. Minutes of the May 15th, Hispanic Advisory Committee meeting.
  4. Minutes of the June 1st, Special City Council meeting.
  5. Minutes of the June 12th, City Council work session meeting and regular meeting.
  6. Declaring City Owned Property Surplus.
  7. Final Plat- Eastern Oregon Development LLC.
  8. Initiation of Annexation- On W. Gettman Road for Frank Gehring.
  9. Announcement of standing committee vacancies for the unexpired portion of a:
  1. 3-year term beginning August 2017 and ending June 30th, 2020
    Hispanic Advisory Committee- position #1
  2. 1-year term beginning August 2017 and ending June 30th, 2018
    Library Board- position #3
  3. 2-year term beginning August 2017 and ending June 30th, 2019
    Library Board- position #5
  4. 4-year term beginning August 2017 and ending June 30th, 2021
    Library Board- position #4

Deadline to submit applications is June 29th, 2017 or until filled.

Motion carried unanimously.

Resolution No. 2063

Renewing Charter Communications Franchise Agreement and Superseding Res. No. 1914.

Assistant City Manager Morgan stated the current 5 year franchise agreement with Charter Communications will expire on July 1st. The new agreement would mimic the present agreement with a couple of changes, to include:

  • Changing the agreement term from 5 to 7 years- This will allow both the City and Charter to save time and costs associated with renewing the agreement.
  • Adding language to the Reservation of Rights. This will allow the City to charge additional fees for internet service and not just cable services.

There was some consensus from the Council that the franchise fee should have been changed from 3% to 5% as Hermiston has some of the lowest rates in the state; and, that the new agreement should have included additional fees for internet service.

Assistant City Manager Morgan stated the franchise fee stayed at 3% as the city’s policy has been to not raise rates without a need for the additional funds. With that being said, the Council can choose to change the franchise fee at any time and include internet franchise fees as well.  

Councilor Primmer moved and Councilor Kirwan seconded to approve Resolution No. 2063 and lay upon the record.  Motion carried unanimously.

Contract Agreement Between HES and Landis+Gyr Technology Inc., For New Electric Meters.

City Manager Smith stated replacement of electric meters is a Capital Improvement Project supported by the recent bond issue for the electric system.

Hermiston Energy Services (HES) Superintendent Nate Rivera stated the Council, last year, approved a work plan to allow HES to refinance HES debt and invest in new electric meters. The recommendation before you tonight is to allow HES to enter into a contract with Landis+Gyr Technology Inc. for purchasing, licensing, service agreement and installation of new automated electric meters.

The Council inquired about the quantity of meters that would be replaced, the time line to replace the meters, and how long customers could expect to go without electricity once meters are being replaced.

Mr. Rivera stated 5,300 meters will be replaced with 4,700 of those meters being residential. There is a 20 week wait time for the meters to arrive and once the meters are close to arriving, staff will receive training and move forward with customer notification. The replacement of electric meters should be completed by the end of this year, or within the first few months of next year. The replacement of electric meters is also quite a bit more simplistic than water meters, so customers will only go about 7 to 15 mins without electricity.

Mayor Drotzmann stated the amount for the electric meter replacement is much lower than what was approved last year.

Mr. Rivera stated the City was able to save money by purchasing a direct read system that will upload information directly to the cloud every 15 mins instead of being transferred to substations which is considerably more expensive. The remaining funds left over from this project will be used on HES priority items, but additional funding will still be needed.

Councilor Kirwan moved and Councilor Primmer seconded to approve the contract with Landis+Gyr Technology Inc. for new electric meters. Motion carried unanimously.

EOTEC Monthly Report

City Manager Smith gave the Council an EOTEC update, to include items from the: rodeo, barns, fairgrounds, paving, and parking. The EOTEC Board is discussing hosting an Open House for the Fair and Rodeo Grounds the first week of August or the day of the Fair Parade.

The new EOTEC General Manager position was publicized locally and in the Tri-City Herald. Mr. Smith has heard from one potential applicant. Applications are due at the end of this week.

Councilor Primmer asked if a management company could still be considered to operate the facility as was discussed in earlier conversations.

Mr. Smith stated at this point, there are not many companies that are interested in operating the facility, as the whole facility has not been completed and it is difficult for companies to market or operate a facility without knowing what it will offer and what the final project will look like. This can be considered at a later date with the EOTEC Manager. A company to assist in the marketing of the facility could also be considered.

Committee Report’s

Hispanic Advisory Committee: Councilor Gutierrez stated Library Director Mark Rose gave information regarding Spanish reading materials at the library and encouraged Hispanic members of the community to apply for position openings in the Library Board. Jesus Rome spoke about the 1st Annual Cultural Diversity Event that will be held directly after Fun Fest on July 8th. The June meeting was also Jesus’s last, as he chose not to reapply for his position.

Mayor Drotzmann thanked Jesus for all the work he has done as a member of the Hispanic Advisory Committee.

Cinco de Mayo: Councilor Beas-Fitzgerald stated although not a part of the City, the Cinco de Mayo Committee met to discuss moving to EOTEC next year. In order to make this move, the Committee will be seeking more grants than ever before.

City Manager’s Report

City Manager Smith gave an update regarding todays fire by Oxbow Trail, stating the Fire District were able to save 8 to 10 residences, but unfortunately, 2 residences (a duplex) were lost. Firefighters and equipment from Umatilla, Boardman, and Pendleton helped fight the fire and Hermiston Police Department and the Oregon State Police assisted in traffic control. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

The Council discussed contacting the property owners, The Bureau of Reclamation, to maintain their property and help make sure fire danger is low. Councilor Gutierrez recommended using goats to clear the area and any other areas that have similar issues.

City Manager Smith stated he will speak with the Fire Department for recommendations as well.

Adjournment

There was no other business and Mayor Drotzmann adjourned the meeting at 7:55 pm.


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