Thursday, October 30, 2014

Making it Wright



"Making it Wright" is a documentary by Paul Bright, of Paul Bright Films.  The outcome is not something we expected.  This Mayor and council have the ability to correct this wrong by a previous administration and do not seem interested.  It's difficult to believe that any administration would accept and live with knowing this man owed the city a little over $1,000, and they revoked his lease, in essence taking his hangar and business.  A value of over $160,000.  The reason we didn't expect this outcome is that our Mayor was a minister for some thirty years.  Wouldn't you expect him to be the moral leader and convince his council to "Make it Wright"?  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

HEALING THE AIRPORT IMAGE

       The City of Creswell needs to candidly look into how they do business at the airport. Correcting what happened to Dave Wright, of Wright Brothers Skydiving, would be a good place to start. Unlike most airports, Creswell has a policy of making anyone who builds a hangar on the airport "donate" that hangar to the City. In turn, the person gets a twenty-year lease with two ten-year options. The reason airport property is negotiated this way is the City is then exempt from paying property tax. While the City doesn't pay property tax, they still charge the lease holder the equivalent of a property tax. Not a bad thing if these funds are used to benefit the airport, but that is not the case.

For example, Dave Wright spent $110,000 to build a hangar to go into the skydiving business, which ultimately, he was unable to use. As some of you know, the City of Creswell spent hundreds of thousands of dollars defending a lawsuit by Eugene Skydivers after they were no longer allowed to land on the airport. Fortunately, Eugene Skydivers found a farmer's field to land on to stay in business, but Dave Wright was not so lucky.
Dave was continually behind in his rent and other fees, prompting the previous City administration to revoke his lease. 
 In essence, taking his investment and his dream of having a skydiving business. Unfortunately, Dave passed away shortly after.

The problem? Even though Dave Wright owed the City a reported $5,800 in lease fees, the City kept the remaining value of his lease, approximately $100,000. His widow and children received nothing. The City is now renting the hangar Dave built and keeping all the income.

This mayor and council have the legal right to reinstate the hangar lease to Dave's widow and children. It's no secret what happened to Dave Wright, and it doesn't bode well for the Creswell Airport's image. I respectfully ask that our mayor and councilors do the right thing and make this right. It would be a great start to a new image and a more unified community.

In talking with a number of religious men about the moral aspects of this issue, they all said it would be the right thing to do, to give the widow the remainder of the lease.  One Minister quoted James 4:17
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

There would be a great deal of pride in a Mayor and council willing to give up the rent money from a hangar that was gained in a questionable manner.  What a warm story that would make.  Let's wish them well.                                                         

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Airports are supposed to be fun!

Dear Editor,

Let's Be Neighborly,

Whoever took down the sign, "Creswell The Friendly Town," knew what they were doing, at least as far as being neighborly goes.  The Cottage Grove Airport will be closed for 50 days while they repave the runway.  There are a lot of fellow pilots who could use some help with a place to keep their planes during this time.  

My wife and I have had access to the Creswell Airport for eighteen years, and there has never been a problem.  Presently, we don't have a plane, but continue to pay $270.00 per year for this access.  Wanting to be good neighbors, we thought it would be nice to offer at least one of the Cottage Grove pilots the use of our hangar for this period of time at no cost to him. 

I suggested he explain to the airport manager that he has an invitation to park his plane in our hangar.  He did that and was told she would have to ask the city administrator.  At this point, because she is new, I wrote the city administrator inviting her to come and look at our hangar and our airport access.  She never came and said she would ask the city attorney what he thought.  She later wrote and said she would once again discuss this with the airport manager, the very place where this started.  I then got a note from the airport manager saying in part, "Although the City understands that the circumstances for this request is not ordinary, it is the City’s legal opinion that to allow this deviation from the RTTF agreement could create future liabilities and/or precedence that the City may not be able to defend.  It is for this reason that we cannot accommodate your request.  Shelley Humble, Airport Manager."

This took over three weeks, a decision that should have taken five minutes.  There would be no liabilities or a precedent that could be set.  We are the only ones with airport access.  This is just one more example of why this airport is a failure.  The only precedent they would be setting is one of being friendly and willing to help others.   

Jerry Norcia
Creswell,       


Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Creswell Police Department

Does the sound of that make you wonder, could we have our own Creswell Police Department, CPD?It appears having our own police department is not on the agenda with our present mayor and council.  We can't help but to wonder, what could our city really get for what it's costing to contract with the sheriff's department?  If the price of one deputy is $175,000 for one year, what else are we paying for with the other two deputies and the "one third time of a sergeant?"First, let's assume we are serious in forming our own Creswell police department.  We could easily start with the $175,000 that is under discussion.  I was told the budget for the Sheriff's Department was $525,000  plus $133,200 from the $6 dollars added to the utility bill from 1850 households for a total of $658,200  That would pay for the original two deputies and one third time sergeant and now the third deputy which is an additional $175,000.  If that number sounds high, I believe it is.  That is what got us interested.First, we would like believe we are working towards our own police department.  With that in mind, let's look at what we could get for the $658,200If you look at  http://www1.salary.com/OR/police-officer-salary.htmlYou will see a number of Oregon Cities police salary'sLet's use the City of Corvallis who pays $73,691.00 per year.  That is with full benefits, sick leave, pers, medical etc.Let's say we hire four officers$294,764   Now one chief or Captain  $127,000$421,764   Three police cars, $38,500 Ford's SUV fully equipped $115,500$537,264   With these numbers, we would still have $120,936 left over for additional insurance  equipment and renting jail cells.  Lane county said we could use their jail cells for felony criminals and rent in Springfield or Cottage Grove for lesser criminals.  Of course there are expenses that are not listed here.  We need to look at what else is needed and what the cost would be.On top of the $120,000 left over, there will be money taken in from citations.  While that is an unknown number it should be a factor when looking into this possibility.  Junction City said they took in $250,000 one year.  Of course that is a bigger town with a much larger area and population.  There is also $40,000 being spent on a Creswell code enforcement person.  Like other police departments, that can be done by our police officers, another savings.Just take the $175,000 we are talking about for the third Sheriff.  That would pay for one police officer and two patrol cars for $150,691 with $24,309 left over.  Keep in mind, the salaries used here need not be exact.  We have a much smaller population and only 1.72 square miles to patrol.  The police cars are a one time cost with ongoing maintenance. We should mention, there are many grants to help small towns start their own police departments.First, we should talk with the Sheriff, and ask, if we hire an experienced police sergeant, would he be allowed to work with our two contracted sheriff's?  The sheriff's could groom our sergeant to the ways of Creswell, the people, the area etc.  After a brief period with our deputy's he would be on his own, with our police car.   This Creswell Police Sergeant would be paramount in forming our department.  He will have to be especially qualified and promotable.  He will play a big part in hiring and training.
There are many benefits to having our own police who live and work in the city.  From others I've talked with, they are very proud of their officers.  I can see them spending more time visiting the schools, library and just be more visible.  Just compare with only one small town, Oakridge Oregon, where they say.  "Oakridge Police Department is comprised of a Chief, a Deputy Chief, three (3) full time officers, five (5) fully trained reserve officers, four and a half (4.5) dispatchers, and Cadets.  We also have a K-9 Officer that works with the school, on patrol and mutual aid to other agencies."At the very least, we should put out an employment opportunity for a police sergeant and see the qualifications of those applying.
What are your feelings? Please express your concerns and ideas.  It could be a benefit to our city.