Board Members – Chairman Byron Smith, Vice Chairman Dan Dorran, Secretary/Treasurer Larry Givens, Board members Ed Brookshier, Vijay Patel, Kim Puzey and Don Miller.
Present were Board Members Byron Smith, Dan Dorran, Ed Brookshier, Kim Puzey, Larry Givens and Don Miller. Also present were Nate Rivera, Mayor Drotzmann, Holly Lambert and Jayati Ramakrishnan of the East Oregonian, and members of the public. Vijay Patel was excused.
Chairman Byron Smith called the meeting to order at 7:02 am.
Kim asked for clarification on the Neighborhood Association formed by Chris Waine and if it had any legal bearing on EOTEC.
Byron stated he does not believe the neighborhood association has any legal bearing on EOTEC.
Larry added Neighborhood Association has no legal bearing except they did hire a lawyer out of The Dalles and the county has been instructed not to discuss matters except through their attorney.
Byron stated if anyone from the Neighborhood Association attended a meeting, we would take public comment, but the Board would be unable to respond.
Dan moved and Larry seconded to approve the meeting minutes from the regular Board meeting and the Executive Session on July 28th. Motion carried unanimously.
Ed moved and Don seconded to approve the meeting minutes from the special Board meeting and the Executive Session on July 31st. Motion carried unanimously.
Budget & Fiscal Reports
Chairman Smith informed the Board Amy Palmer has officially resigned from the City and they are looking to hire a new Finance Director. Byron presented the financials.
Ed approved and Larry seconded to approve the July financial report. Motion carried unanimously.
Dan motioned and Ed seconded to approve the August Disbursements. Motion carried unanimously.
Ed motioned and Larry seconded to approve the June & July Monthly Event Reports. Motion carried unanimously.
Nate reported there were a couple of corrections to the fundraising wall. Those corrections and some new donor plaques are in process for the donor wall.
Byron stated the last quarterly payment is not yet received.
Knerr Construction Report
John Eckhardt with Knerr Construction reported they have developed a punch list of items to complete. They are currently going through the list doing repairs, completing items not completed before the Fair and looking for any issues that did not go as expected during the Fair. John stated everything went well Fair Week, there were only a couple small issues and it was a very successful event. Knerr is moving forward creating a list for the select committee, much like a wish list, of what could be done and still needs to be completed with pricing for the Board to consider.
Hendon Construction Report
Carl Hendon of Hendon Construction reported they are looking for punch list items but there is not much to find. There is one small section with an opening between the bleachers and the fence they will close up. Everything went very well during the Fair & Rodeo.
Chairman Smith shared yesterday’s meeting with Knerr, Hendon and the Building Committee. Due to a few items the building official found it was a “temporary occupancy”. Since then, all the documentation has been submitted by the contractors and EOTEC should be receiving its “Permanent Occupancy” certificate soon.
Ed publicly stated the Board cannot thank the contractors enough for their effort to bring the project to where it is at today.
Byron added an appreciation for the contractors having extra crews out and on the weekend’s to complete everything.
Carl stated it was a satisfying project, especially to walk in and see the crowds and the people enjoying the facility and grounds during Fair & Rodeo week.
Dan thanked the contractors to, all the great comments heard during the week, especially on the restrooms, we cannot say thank you enough.
Farm-City Pro Rodeo Report
Dennis Barnett reported that after many volunteer hours and about four months of sleepless nights, the event went off without a hitch. The first year in a new facility went amazingly well. We might understand but we do not fully appreciate enough our contractors, both contracted for the job and volunteer contractors. The community that came in and laid almost 80,000 square feet of sod. Everything worked, and the facility provided an “outstanding event” for Farm-City Pro Rodeo’s 30th year, a testament to the vision. Both participants and visitors stated they felt like it was home. Dennis stated the Rodeo is in debt to finish in the facility, but that’s ok, it needed to be done. Everything was outstanding! He also reported the Rodeo was up 5% in overall attendance.
Umatilla County Fair Report
Don echoed the sentiments of Dennis and added the collaboration experienced this year was wonderful and hopes to continue that in the future. For the fair, the same types of worries faced the fair and the learning curve was extremely high. There were many new experiences and difficulties in a new venue. The Fair used a new electronic ticketing system in which the scanners did not work in the extreme heat. There is not yet an official attendance count for the Fair.
Don recommended the EOTEC Board consider using the RV Park not just for the Fair, but for year round revenue.
Dan shared a thank you to those who have been part of a dream 6 ½ years in the making, leaving a community/regional event center for generations to enjoy. He noted the 6,800 square feet of shade tents, 32 tables and every day comments of “Thank You” for somewhere to get out of the sun. Daily the three entertainment stages were full and many are in awe that we hosted an event with what we have and what we have is exceptional. This is a dream we can be proud of.
Marie Linnell reported on the animal sale. This year was the 3rd highest grossing sale on the 4-H & FFA animals, the sale broke many past averages. Animals were unloaded into the fairgrounds very fast, that was a huge benefit as less stress on the animals waiting in hot trailers. The livestock sale also went fairly fast with awesome community support. She noted one area of improvement would be to consider adding a large fan in the middle of the large animal barn as there is very little air movement due to the size of the barn.
Interim General Manager Nate shared that an outside company, Venue Works, has toured the site to determine revenue opportunities and creating a marketing plan for the facility, getting the pricing correct, gaining an understanding of operations and getting a direction moving forward. The tour & meeting went well. Nate has had several conversations with people who would be interested and excited in the General Manger position, but it is a very busy time in the state. Those Nate has talked to would love to help us but the question is asked how they can help us, as more information is needed on how we are to move forward. The Board needs to do some vision work and answer some questions about what we want before someone is willing to partner with us. How can we start the visioning process as we transition from a construction board to an operation board. Until we answer the questions of what is our vision, what is the focus, what is the expectation of the Board, it will be difficult for someone to take this journey with us. With are looking at two paths, professional management or private management.
Ed asked the name of the firm we are working with and their reaction to what can be done with our unique facility.
Nate stated Venue Works is the firm we are working with and their focus is on finding what makes you revenue every day. They especially liked the Rodeo’s Mercantile and the Event Center as sources of revenue.
Ed asked if the Board should be looking at finding a way for self-funding RV Park. Byron said we are looking into that.
Nate strongly cautioned we first need to have a plan on how to maintain what we have, what the cost is, and second, long-term visioning, what are the steps to succeed. Then we can follow the steps to use what we have. We will not be successful to just chase down ideas.
(Larry exited at 7:48am)
Operations- General Manager Report
Nate presented the Board with information regarding EOTEC staffing, procurement, facility pricing and landscaping issues. After discussion, several decisions were made.
Ed moved and Dan seconded to expand MLD Services contract to go into effect immediately through October 31st, 2017, for internal and external maintenance, janitorial, event set-up and tear down due to the importance of having someone on staff on site every day. Motion carried unanimously.
As the Board reached a consensus on the direction of a procurement policy, Dan motioned and Don seconded to affirm the General Manager $500 purchase limit without board approval and all purchases by board members will go through the General Manager. Motion carried unanimously.
Ed motioned and Kim seconded to plant trees currently on site in the swales as a short-term solution in lieu of a long-term landscaping master plan that takes into account cost, infrastructure and long-term maintenance.
Nate informed the Board that EOTEC needs to have an inventory list of what we own and a system for handling inventory but he does not have the time capacity to do that.
Nate has asked Knerr & Hendon to a create a list of costs for what needs to be done to maintain the facility and grounds for the next six months in order to protect our investment. The Board needs a plan as soon as possible to care for this investment to take care with the long-term cost. For example, the large barn needs bird- netting to keep birds from nesting and tearing out the insulation. This needs to happen this fall at a cost of $200,000+ for the netting, including installation.
Kim mentioned adding in the long-term cost asphalt maintenance.
George Anderson 625 W Division Ave. Mr. Anderson is a local attorney. He thanked the Board, the City & the County for moving the Fair out of the middle of town. He also thanked the County for saving the eight million dollars it would have taken to bring the old site up to code.
Larry shared the Transportation Bill recently signed by the Governor requires the county to have the spec’s for Airport Rd. last month in order for the State to look at dispersing funds in 2018. The County will be re-scheduling the timing on applying for funds.
The next regular meeting will be on Friday, September 29th, @ 7:00 am at EOTEC located at 1705 E. Airport Road, Hermiston, OR.
As there was no further business the meeting was adjourned at 8:24am.