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CITY OF SOUTH BEND - COUNCIL MEETING - April 23, 2018

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1-2. CALL TO ORDER AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The council meeting was called to order by Mayor Struck at 5:30 pm followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Members present: Councilor Buchanan, Councilor Williams, Councilor Neve, Councilor Davis, Councilor Little, Police Chief Eastham, City Supervisor Houk, Assistant Fire Chief McGee and Clerk/Treasurer Roberts.

3. APPROVAL OF AGENDA, CONSENT AGENDA, AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A motion was made by Councilor Neve to approve the Agenda, Consent Agenda and the minutes of the April 9, 2018 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Councilor Davis. Vote: Ayes-5, Noes-0, Absent-0

Vendors – Check #44015 thru Check #44049 - $85,665.54

4. CORRESPONDENCE

None

5. ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC

Citizen Kathy Brown explained that she just received a letter from the city regarding a rental she has at 1157 Summit. The renters moved out leaving a water bill of $1,399.01 and according to the letter, as the property owner, she must pay the account in full by April 30, 2018 or a lien would be placed on the property. Clerk/Treasurer Roberts explained that unfortunately utility bills – water, sewer and garbage – stay with the property owner. She also suggested that anyone with rentals should have a copy of the utility bill sent to them each month so that they can stay informed about the bills. Ms. Brown questioned the city’s policy for shutoff’s when an account becomes delinquent and how a bill could get that large and still be allowed to remain on and active. Clerk/Treasurer Roberts advised that she would need to gather more information about the account before she could provide Ms. Brown with a detailed answer to those questions. Clerk/Treasurer Roberts will follow up with Ms. Brown via phone to discuss her concerns and find a resolution that is agreeable to Ms. Brown.

6. CENTRAL AVENUE SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT PROJECT – PROJECT ACCEPTANCE

Mayor Struck explained that this is more or less a formality, but something that needs to be done to allow the city to move forward with the final closeout of this project. All of the money has been expended and documentation has been completed. All of the legal issues have been resolved and the appropriate documents have been filed. Councilor Williams made a motion accepting the Central Avenue Sewer Line Replacement Project as complete. The motion was seconded by Councilor Neve. Vote: Ayes-5, Noes-0, Absent-0

7. RESOLUTION #2018-04 – RECREATION AND CONSERVATION OFFICE (RCO) GRANT FOR CHENEY PARK FIELD LIGHTING

Mayor Struck presented Resolution #2018-04 – RCO Grant for Cheney Park Field Lighting. She explained that this allows her to sign the necessary paperwork to apply for the grant. Councilor Neve made a motion accepting Resolution #2018-04 – RCO Grant for Cheney Park Field Lighting as presented. The motion was seconded by Councilor Williams.

During discussion Councilor Davis asked if there was a match and Mayor Struck explained that there was a city match of 10% which might be covered by a private donor whom she didn’t feel comfortable naming. The city crew can also do some of the work which would be consider “in-kind” and that would also satisfy the 10% match. Councilor Neve asked if Mayor Struck had received the letter from the Kiwanis and she was advised no, she had not. Mayor Struck noted that the total cost of the project is $330,000. Vote: Ayes-5, Noes-0, Absent-0

8. ORDINANCE #1532 – AMENDING, REPEALING AND ADDING PORTIONS OF TITLE 15 UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT CODE AND TITLE 16 ZONING OF THE SOUTH BEND MUNICIPAL CODE (FIRST READING)

Mayor Struck presented Ordinance #1532 – Amending, Repealing and Adding Portions of Title 15 Unified Development Code and Title 16 Zoning of the South Bend Municipal Code for a first reading. Mayor Struck explained that the planning commission has been working on this for some time and it was required to put the city in compliance with the Growth Management Act. Councilor Neve made a motion moving Ordinance #1532 - Amending, Repealing and Adding Portions of Title 15 Unified Development Code and Title 16 Zoning of the South Bend Municipal Code to a second reading. The motion was seconded by Councilor Davis.

During discussion Councilor Neve had a question regarding a section on page 32 of the ordinance. Clerk/Treasurer Roberts suggested that Councilor Neve and any of the other councilors who had any questions, concerns or requests for changes to contact Kim Porter as she is the Planning Commission Secretary and she can pass on those questions, concerns or requests to the planning commission.Vote: Ayes-5, Noes-0, Absent-0

9. DECLINING CURRENT EXPENSE REVENUES

Mayor Struck asked if the council had any thoughts about ways to increase revenues in current expense after the discussion at the last council meeting (see April 9, 2018 minutes). The city is open to suggestions.

Councilor Neve wanted to make sure that any type of excise tax increase would be the same for eveyrone. She didn’t want to see anyone getting charged a lesser amount of tax than someone else. Councilor Neve was assured that any increase in the utility excise tax would include everyone in the City of South Bend.

Councilor Davis asked what it would save to shut city hall down one day a week – going to a 32 hour work week. Clerk/Treasurer Roberts advised that she had not put any numbers together on that because it would require negotiations with the union to reduce staff hours.

Councilor Williams noted that the excise tax hasn’t been raised since 1996 – 22 years – and he feels that the city and council needs to be more diligent about keeping current raises going. Annual or even semiannual incremental increases to keep up with inflation are much easier to justify and accept than waiting until the city is in a positon where something has to be raised $15-$20 just to keep the fund out of the red. It was noted that all of the utility ordinances – water, sewer and garage – have it written into them that they increase each year based on the CPI with the council’s approval. {The has been a part of the water, sewer and garbage ordinances since 2002 but has never been applied}

Councilor Buchanan pointed out that it appeared that the paper made an error in reporting when they mentioned that the city’s current expense fund was $55,000 in the red when it should have said $5,500.

Following further discussion the council asked if Clerk/Treasurer Roberts would provide the council with a breakdown of how a 5% utility excise tax increase would affect a utility bill – line by line. Clerk/Treasurer Roberts advised she would include that in their next council packet.

10. DEPARTMENT HEAD REPORTS
  • Police Chief Eastham explained that his department has adopted a baseball team which didn’t have anyone to coach them and if anyone should receive any complaints about uniformed officers “playing” they are actually providing some great community policing. Police Chief Eastham said his staff approached him about doing it and he told them he didn’t care as long as he didn’t have to help coach! Zoe Sowa and Sergeant Stigall have taken the lead and it seems to be working very well. The feedback has been very positive.
  • City Supervisor Houk gave kudo’s to his crew for all of their hard work and diligence during the extraordinary amount of rainfall that the city had over the past couple of weeks. Over 5” in a 24 hour period at one point. There was no flooding and thanks to Pacific County Public Works who did a great deal of work at the end of Central Avenue last year there was no issues there either. Good job everyone!
  • City Supervisor Houk mentioned what a nice job that Parks Caretaker Dave Williams did at the Mill Pond for the opening day of juvenile fishing on April 14th. City Supervisor Houk took his daughter and said it was very nice with food, treats and prizes as well as some BIG fish were caught!
  • Clerk/Treasurer Roberts advised that she would not be at the May 14th council meeting and would then be out of town at her last WMCA sponsored trip to Norfolk Virginia starting May 19th.
11. MAYOR’S REPORT

None

12. COUNCIL COMMENTS
  • Councilor Neve noted that she thinks that the coaching is really wonderful and a perfect example of “Community Policing” done right.
  • Councilor Neve gave kudo’s to Officer Gonzalez as the school resource officer. He is doing a really great job!
  • Councilor Buchanan noted that the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will be holding a meeting at the Willapa Valley School on April 23rd starting at 6:30 pm. It is regarding the Willapa Hills Trails Project.
  • Councilor Buchanan asked about the status of Mary Rogers Pioneer Park (MRPP). Mayor Struck explained that the funding for MRPP through RCO is very unlikely as it is considered a want rather than a need. The grant funding through RCO is very competitive and this project is considered very small comparatively to other projects that are applied for. The project may be looked at again next year and possibly be done by the city on a much smaller scale, but for now it is on the backburner.
13. ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned at 6:09 PM to meet again at 5:30 PM on Monday, May 14, 2018 for the next regularly scheduled meeting at South Bend City Hall.