Greg Ervin appointed as Ward 4 councilor

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM- Greg Ervin was sworn in as the Ward 4 councilman on March 12, filling the vacant seat left by Amy Slay.

Slay purchased land outside of city limits and was no longer eligible to hold a council seat. 

It was Ervin's third time in front of the council for a spot on the board but he has served on city boards in the past including the city's budget committee. He also provided logistical support for the local Gleaners organization, volunteered as a SMART reader and was a journaling mentor at OSCI with a faith-based organization. 

In his application, Ervin noted that a top concern in the community is the safety of residents as well as a desire by residents to have an "opportunity-rich" environment.

Ervin will serve as councilor for Ward 4 until November when he must run in the general election to maintain the seat. Councilors serve four-year terms. 

A meeting rundown:

The March 12 city council meeting lasted 31 minutes.

On the agenda was the swearing-in of new city councilor Greg Ervin, the recognition of local sports teams and concerns from council. 

New guy:

Greg Ervin was the only applicant for Amy Slay's Ward 4 seat. Ervin, who has interviewed before the board twice before, sat before the board again Monday night, the eve of the due date for his fourth child, to answer questions about his background and intentions as a city councilor. On why he wanted to be a councilor, Ervin said he had always been interested in government and how it works and wanted to help maintain his values in the community his children will grow up in. He told the council he didn't have a tangible goal--like a park opening--but wanted to achieve unity and continue transparency on the council. Councilor Mike Fleck noted he didn't "have any heartburn" appointing Ervin and made the motion with fellow councilor Garland Burback joking that Ervin was a fine choice as long as he hadn't colluded with Russia. The vote to appoint Ervin was unanimous with councilor Jake Boone and a representative of the city's youth advisory council absent. Of his appointment, Ervin said he was excited to take part in the process in the capacity of councilor. 

Swinging price:

The repair cost estimates for the Swinging Bridge have been climbing since the structure was closed in 2016 but during Monday night's council meeting, the board received another new figure: $1 million. The estimate had been updated since the council's report was completed with the board's paperwork for the item reporting the estimated cost at approximately $786,000. However, public works and development director Faye Stewart informed the board that the cost had gone up the day prior to approximately $950,000. 

Councilman Ken Roberts asked Stewart what had caused the price jump with Stewart and city manager Richard Meyers both noting that the engineering costs had gone up. The new price tag includes approximately $500,000 for construction, $150 in contingency fees and the remainder is made up of design and engineering costs. Stewart introduced grant options to the board including the Local Government Grant Program. According to the agenda item, "The... grant request will be for $100,000 towards a total project cost of $786, 345. Additional grant requests will also be made for the Recreational Trails Grant Program and Land and Water Conservation Funds Program. The city's match will be covered through engineering, design and construction oversight." 

Housekeeping: City manager Richard Meyers informed the board that the youth advisory council would take part in an advisory day at city hall which would include lunch with the city council at Middlefield Golf Course. Some of the council, made up of students interested in government, would also be attending a summit in Roseburg with Meyers on March 26. Meyers said the group is expected to be back in town in time for the March 26 city council meeting.

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