On Monday night, the City of Cottage Grove squared away much of its expenditures which took place over a tumultuous past year.
In a resolution, the city council established appropriations within the 2020-21 Budget for the expenditure of unforeseen funds as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In July last year, the City of Cottage Grove entered into an agreement with the Oregon Department of Administrative Services to receive Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
The funds were unforeseen at the time of the 2020-21 Budget adoption.
Through the CARES Act CRF program, the city was allocated $328,944.98 and expenditures which qualified according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury made between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2020, were eligible for reimbursement.
This deadline date was later extended to the end of 2021.
A portion of the funds, $60,370, were used to reimburse expenditures made during the 2019-20 Budget year and those funds were accounted for in the 2019-20 Budget.
“So if you added everything up in the resolution, it will be $60,370 less, because we won’t be appropriating that,” said City Manager Richard Meyers.
In the current budget year, a number of major projects were undertaken which would not have been done if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. These projects were not a part of the current budget and the expenditures had to be made in order to request any kind of reimbursement.
“And so we spent it out of a number of line items in the budget that had other projects or things that we were going to do this year in the budget,” explained Meyers. “We’d still like to do those and so we need to put this reimbursement back into those line items so that we can do some of those other projects and have that funding.”
The city has also overextended some of those line items to accomplish projects through the grant and is aiming to fix that overextension as well to make sure the budget balances at the end of the year.
The total expenditures of all CRF funds in both 2019-20 and 2020-21 budget years were tabulated in the following way:
• Communication and enforcement $4,218.34
• Medical and protective supplies $8,117.95
• Disinfecting public areas and other facilities $42,135.31
• Public Safety Measures $15,450.83
• Employees substantially dedicated to COVID-19 $9,656.48
• Telework Capabilities $7,658.82
• Paid sick and paid family and medical leave $42,988.93
• Care for homeless populations $168,304.32
• Small Business Interruption Grants $30,414
The city has been or will shortly be reimbursed for the $268,574.51 that was spent on the eligible expenditures during the 2020-21 budget year.
Approximately $120,000 additional expenditures would be eligible for reimbursement if the city were to receive an additional allotment, though no word has come from Congress as to whether local governments will receive more funding.
The current reimbursement is in many cases essential to allow the funds to conduct the projects that are budgeted for the 2020-21 Budget year.
In other council news:
Municipal Code Title 14 Amendments
The council finalized an amendment to Cottage Grove Development Code in a second vote on the topic.
The amendment modifies regulations regarding duplex development and residential parking.
It is intended to bring the city into compliance with its housing needs analysis and the requirements of House Bill 2001, which mandated that cities with populations greater than 10,000 or within the Metro area are to allow duplexes in lands zoned for single-family dwellings.
The bill aimed to provide Oregonians with more housing choices, particularly in regards to affordable housing.
At issue for the city was the sense that the legislation had been a case of state overreach in that it disallows local governments to make housing decisions based on what each has deemed fitting for their own particular urban growth boundary.
Residential parking, in particular, has been a point of contention as the minimum required parking spaces was lowered.
In August last year, an Oregon Administrative Rule came into effect as a result of HB 2001, prohibiting cities the size of Cottage Grove from requiring more than a total of two off-street parking spaces for a duplex — or one parking space per dwelling unit.
Cottage Grove, however, had an established minimum of two parking spaces per dwelling unit — or four per duplex.
Last month, city staff successfully proposed to the city council to treat triplexes and quadruplexes the same as the city currently treats multi-family in the code, which is by housing unit size.
For instance, single-bedroom units require one parking space while two-bedroom units require two. In essence, the larger the unit, the more parking developers are required to include.
Councilors also adopted a separate amendment to city code which includes erosion prevention regulations, a primary tool used in the state to reduce sediment transfer through stormwater runoff from construction sites.
The city had previously adopted a Natural Resource Element in the Cottage Grove Comprehensive Plan to protect the community’s water quality, which includes objectives that encourage development practices that minimize runoff, contribute to groundwater recharge and reduce the likelihood of contamination of the community’s water system.
City staff suggested a “heavy educational approach” in implementing the new system, which would involve two different types of erosion prevention permits.
In the lower threshold, an over-the-counter permit would be required for projects on sites impacting more than 500 square feet of land. The next level of permit includes a construction management plan for projects which affect areas larger than 4,500 square feet.
Beyond this, projects disturbing land which exceeds one acre require a Department of Environ-mental Quality permit.
In the December city council meeting, councilors suggested raising the minimum threshold while capturing smaller projects which create heavy soil runoff with specific verbiage in the ordinance, which was reflected in the revised version of the ordinance.
Ward 1 City Council vacancy
With the resignation of former Councilor Jake Boone last Thursday (Feb. 4), the city council has chosen to open the seat to applications with a deadline of Feb. 26.
Those applying must reside with Ward 1. A link to a map of Cottage Grove wards can be found online at www.cottagegroveor.gov/citymanager/page/city-wards-map.
The position’s term ends Dec. 31, 2022, and there is no general election this year, so the selected person would complete the term and could run for the seat in the 2022 election.
On March 8, at 5:30 p.m., the council is scheduled to hold interviews and appoint a person to the seat, who must be voted on by a majority of the council.
“It will probably be a hybrid virtual process,” noted Meyers.
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