Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Responsive City Council

The June 10th city council meeting was attended by approximately 40 people. There is a good reason for the growing number of attendees to these meetings. First and foremost, we have a Mayor and council who make it comfortable for those with concerns who sign up to speak. Public speaking is difficult at best for most people, but after watching how respectful these individuals are being treated, it should encourage more people to feel free to express their concerns. A good example would be, one audience member spoke at the public forum about the high water rates that were on the agenda to be raised. This gentleman spoke passionately about the present water rates being high enough without raising them further. Later, during the council meeting when that agenda item came up, the councilors showed a great deal of concern over the water rates and pending increase. They spoke at great length about the problem and discussed a number of ideas, ALL because this gentleman spoke at the meeting. The council voted to not raise the water rates at this time and look into it further. Because, they were concerned and responsive.

An airport user also spoke of the pending increase in rates to those owning hangars on the airport. It seems, there is something in the leases that allow the city to raise the rates each year by the Portland CPI, which is two percent this year. As the businessman pointed out, his rate has been raised by some 30 percent since he's been on the airport. That can get very expensive as time goes on. It was pointed out, that is not a very business friendly contract. Again, the council listened and suggested the rate not be raised this year. Just because it says you can, it doesn't say you must.

Also on the agenda was Jerry and Barbara Norcia's airport access fees. The council lowered these fees to what is the standard for State Airports. Actually, a bit higher, but a reasonable decrease after five years of trying to get previous administrations to look at the information showing a tie down fee would be the reasonable fee. The Norcia's have been charged over four times what is charged at State Airports. Another example of our council willing to listen and act.

Sadly, the question of an existing conflict of interest at the airport was answered when the airport manager's husband implored the council to continue the Norcia's excessive high access fee, because he doesn't get his plane worked on at the airport, or buy fuel there. Two things which are not true. While Norcia quit taking his plane to the airport manager's husband, he does get his plane worked on by another mechanic on the airport and mostly buys fuel at Creswell when he fly's, which is not too often these days. Fortunately, the councilors had enough information to make the long overdue rate decrease.

The most important message for those in attendance, was that the people now, fortunately, have a council willing to listen and act.