City Council Work Session - Minutes

Mon., Jan. 23, 2017

Mayor Drotzmann called the work session meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Present were Councilors Hardin (arrived at 6:10 pm), Gutierrez, Primmer, Kirwan, and Smith, Beas-Fitzgerald and Davis. Councilor Myers was excused. Also present were County Commissioners George Murdock, Bill Elfering, and Larry Givens and County Attorney Doug Olsen. Staff members in attendance were City Manager Byron Smith, City Attorney Gary Luisi, Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan, Chief Edmiston (arrived at 6:50 pm), Captain Eynon, Sergeant Clark (arrived at 6:41 pm), Corporal Martin (arrived at 6:57 pm), Judge Creasing (arrived at 6:54 pm), Clinton Spencer, Bill Schmittle, Roy Bicknell, Amy Palmer, Larry Fetter, Holly Lambert, Nate Rivera, and Lilly Alarcon-Strong. News media present were Jade Mc Dowell of the East Oregonian.


Operations Update

Operations Manager Heather Cannell gave a report regarding the Year-to-Date operations including:

  • 40 Total rentals from May 21, 2016 to present, to include an additional 12 events that have been reserved for 2018.  
  • Every weekend through April has been booked for fundraisers, to include events that have outgrown the current Conference Center.
  • Attendance for larger events like weddings and quinceaneras usually range from 200 to 800 people, and the smaller meeting rooms are beginning to be used for baby showers and board meetings.
  • Working on getting meeting rooms rented out during the week and bringing in larger conferences for the great room that are usually held in larger cities.

Mrs. Cannell stated she has been working single-handedly setting up for events, cleaning, daily operations and personally working on snow removal around the facility for the last two months. An assistant has been hired and will be starting February 6th.

Construction Update

Barn Construction

John Eckhart with Knerr Construction stated they are working on getting bids for concrete, excavation, and utilities which are due back this week. After this point the focus will be on electrical and plumbing as ground breaking is expected on January 30th depending on the weather, with a completion date of July 14th. Mr. Eckhart stated Knerr Construction has been and continue to be on schedule. Knerr Construction is also working on perimeter and interior fencing, signage, landscaping, recognition donor wall, underground utilities, and road construction.

(Councilor Hardin arrived 6:10pm)

Mayor Drotzmann asked what the EOTEC Board had decided on the food vendor area.

Mr. Smith stated the Board authorized purchasing two food trucks for vendors who have agreements with the Fair for food service areas.

Mr. Eckhart stated the food vending areas will be completely level and grassed so the space can be versatile and can be used for many different functions.

Commissioner Elfering asked if there was extra time built into their schedule to allow for possible delays to account for further inclement weather so all items will be completed in time for the 2017 Fair.

Mr. Eckhart stated there is not a lot of flexibility in the schedule, but they will continue to work diligently to make sure it is completed on time.

Commissioner Givens stated there will be some Fair Board members who will be helping put together gates, panels and other items together. Anyone who is willing can help with this process.

Rodeo Arena Construction

Carl Hendon with Hendon Construction stated due to their very aggressive approach from the very beginning of their participation in the project, they have had major milestones with the project and all concrete tests have come back surpassing the minimum requirements needed in order to pass. But, due to the extreme winter weather, the completion date has been pushed back 15 days to June 15th. Mr. Hendon stated although the weather has pushed back the completion date, they will continue to be aggressive once they are able to start again and push themselves to complete the project to the original end date of June 1st.

There was some questions regarding bringing in soil for the arena area.

David Bothum stated bringing in additional soil was not placed in the bid. The soil analysis showed the current soil will function for the intended usage, but did recommend adding clay to the soil. This can be added if additional funds are available.

Mr. Hendon stated there has been significant testing done on the soil to make sure it is adequate, and the soil has surpassed minimum requirements.

Financial Report

Finance Director Amy Palmer gave an over view and explanation of the operation and capital budgets.

HES Superintendent Nate Rivera gave information regarding fundraising efforts and progress on the Donor Wall.

(Sergeant Clark arrived 6:41pm)

Joint Appointment for Hotel/Motel Position

City Manager Smith stated the 7th EOTEC Board position is a joint position between the County and City and is set aside for the hotel/motel industry. Mr. Smith recommended that the City and County approve current Board member Vijay Patel remain on the EOTEC Board as he has reapplied to remain on the Board. The Commissions and Council agreed that Vijay Patel has been an invaluable member and would like him to remain on the Board.

Rename E Airport Road

City Manager Smith stated City Council has directed city staff to request a name change from the County for E. Airport Rd. This request is based on confusion stemming from two roads, in close proximity, being named similarly: E. Airport Rd and Airport Way.

The Commissioners stated they have heard concerns from county residents regarding the hardship this will have on them, both financially and personal time spent making these changes, and asked why instead, does the City not change the address on Airport Way.  

(Chief Edmiston arrived 6:50pm)

Mayor Drotzmann stated the City felt it was more appropriate to keep Airport Way as the Airport is located on this street. Mayor Drotzmann stated if finances are an issue to the county residents perhaps the City can contribute for these expenses, and asked that legal counsel from either City or County, look into the costs associated with these changes.

(Judge Creasing arrived 6:54pm) 

County Attorney Doug Olsen stated he would look into this process. The Commissioners suggested the City and County also hold a joint public hearing on the renaming of E. Airport Rd.

The Council agreed.

(Corporal Martin arrived 6:57pm)

Commissioner Givens stated he will be meeting with Representative Barreto to discuss Transportation Grant funding for both E. Airport Road and Ott Road. Total projected costs for resurfacing improvements are estimated at $1.3 million. Commissioner Givens stated the County approved a resolution in support of these projects and asked that the City also consider doing the same.

Mayor Drotzmann asked that City Manager Smith work on a resolution to support these projects, and stated he feels the improvements would also be very beneficial to the residents who live on these roads.

Mayor Drotzmann stated the work session was slated until 7:00pm, but feels that there is still plenty the County and Council need to discuss, and asked if the Commissioners and Council would agree to delay the regular City Council meeting and continue the work session discussion.

All Commissioners and Council agreed to continue the work session discussion.

Councilor Kirwan thanked the Fair and Rodeo Boards for all their help and commitment to this project. Councilor Kirwan stated he is no longer concerned that the fair and rodeo will not open on time, but is concerned about the EOTEC facility itself. Councilor Kirwan stated EOTEC is more than just the fair and rodeo, and does not feel it is being marketed correctly. Councilor Kirwan recommended that the EOTEC Board hire someone who will market the facility not only in the community, but in the Pacific Northwest and does not feel that there are enough events planned out for next year.

City Manager Smith stated he agrees with some of these concerns, and the Board has had discussions regarding these items, and what it comes down to is the budget. The Board thinks these items are important but also knows that there are not a lot of financial resources to commit to these items.

Commissioner Givens stated he agrees with Councilor Kirwan, because as of right now, there is one person doing everything; marketing, set up, tear down, cleaning, and she does not have enough time to do the marketing that EOTEC truly needs. There does need to be a management system with a dedicated marketing person.

Councilor Kirwan stated the City and County need to be committed and develop long term goals and job descriptions and expectations for EOTEC personnel to make sure EOTEC is successful.

Mayor Drotzmann stated he believes the EOTEC Board needs to discuss and decide:

  • If they want to add an Operations Manager and is the City and County willing to financially commit to this position.
  • If, after construction completion, the current EOTEC Board wants to continue with ongoing operations of the facility.

The Council agreed both with Councilor Kirwan’s concerns and Mayor Drotzmann’s suggestions.

City Manager Smith stated he feels the Board can work on these items and present a recommendation to the Commissioners and City Council within 30 to 60 days.

Commissioner Murdock recommended that the City Council and County Commissioners have another joint session where these items can be presented, discussed and voted on at one meeting; and that both entities continue to have more regular joint sessions.

Councilor Gutierrez recognized and thanked Dennis Barnett and those who have helped with the EOTEC fundraising efforts.

Commissioner Elfering recognized Operations Manager Heather Cannell for all the work she has done at the EOTEC site.

Mrs. Cannell emphasized how difficult marketing this project has been and is, as the project is continuously changing. Premarketing is difficult as she does not want to over-promise and under-deliver, but nonetheless is continuing to market what she can.

The Commissioners thanked the City for the joint meeting and dinner that was provided by Midway Bar & Grill.

Mayor Drotzmann thanked the Commissioners for attending and ended the work session at 7:31 pm. The Councilors took a short break before the regular City Council meeting convened at 7:36 pm.

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