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Halsey Council Passes Budget

The Times of Brownsville, Oregon

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The Halsey City Council voted unanimously to approve the 2015-16 budget with a tax rate of 5.6014 per $1,000 of assessed property value and $58,274 of water system bonded debt payment. This action was taken at the June 9 meeting, with all members present except Councilor "Jerry Gillsbn. The total budgeted amount was $1,875,534.

Perhaps the most important decision of the evening was the consideration of the use of the $544,100'STIP Grant and the decision to use the grant to design the highway development along Hwy 99 from the Hwy 228 intersection to the railroad track at the south end of town. It was a unanimous agreement again. The proposal was presented by Councilor Ken Lorensen with the full support of Mayor Marjean Cline. They had met earlier with Amy Ramsdell of the Oregon Department of Transportation and Darrin Lane, the Road Master for the Linn County Road Department. Lane had encouraged the design plan for Hwy 99E through town as a method of eventually obtaining the resources to repair and replace the roadway, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and landscaping. The original intent was to use the STIP money to do sidewalks and other repair work along a four block area from the Hwy 228 intersection down past Halsey Select Market Lorensen stated, "It could be a minimum of five years before the project might be done and probably more like seven to ten years, but by taking this action now we can move toward it being done eventually." Mayor Cline stated, "This is one of the best things we can do for our city." The Council agreed by passing the proposed motion.

The Council voted to approve the 2015-2016 wage scales with a 2% wage increase for each of the steps. All councilors present voted for the resolution except Councilor Jennifer Johnson who objected to these increases while utility fees are increasing. She also voted no on the resolution to update City Hall Operating Fees in connection with Land Use Requests, Water Services, and Sewer Services, the latter two at $2.50 a month. City Administrator Ronda Fischer noted that the increases are due to long-term costs of water and sewer systems and the additional requirements for eventual replacement. Earlier, while discussing the budget, Councilor Jennifer Johnson stated she was looking for cuts in staff insurance as a method of reducing the tax rate.

The Council approved 3 applicants to the Library Advisory Committee, Betsy Barley, Sharyn Rice and Reta Stutz. Staff member Hilary Norton reported that the Library bookshelves and furniture have been moved into the building and does allow lots of space for people to move around. Rich Barley is working on the ramp and it will be reinstalled soon. Also baseboards and columns will be installed immediately. She is hoping that the opening may occur in early August. TJ Gillson has been hired as the librarian and her position is included in the 2015-16 budget.

Zoe Valdez was appointed to the Halsey City Infrastructure Committee.

Two resolutions were approved for the State Revenue Sharing money, certifying the city for the use of State Revenue Sharing funds and for the funds to be used for police protection, street construction sanitary sewer and planning.

Resolution 2015-614 was approved by the Council which establishes the new and updated personnel policy for the City in the Handbook. Fischer noted the new policy has incorporated the most recent recommended policies and did clean up some unclear language in the old handbook Resolution 2015-613 closed the reserve fund and transferred funds to the general fund.

Linn County Sergeant Klein introduced himself to Council and discussed the changes in the assignments to increase the availability of Sheriff's officers for Halsey. He will be the reporting officer to the Halsey Council in the future.

The Council voted to have the City Administrator notify potential offenders that RVs are not to be occupied for any period over 14 days. Also they must be parked on private property not on the city streets.

The noxious weed ordinance is being enforced starting in June and several properties have been notified. City Administrator Fischer stated the ordinance will be pursued with properties which are in violation. It was also noted that the Brownsville Community Foundation grant had been received for $500 for the Veterans Memorial Park at the library site.

Public Works Manager Andy Ridinger reported, "We are watching water levels for the Halsey water supply and have not yet detected a problem for this summer." He added Mowing takes two and a half days each week now Manhole repairs have been completed and he reports working on the Blue Heron storm drain issue.

The meeting was adjourned at 9 pm.

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Original Publication Date: June 17, 2015

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