City councilors unanimously voted to approve an application for the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Economic Adjustment Assistance grant. The $5 million grant would require the city to match 20 percent ($1 million) of the grant in the form of in-kind and cash contributions.
The city is persuing the grant as it revisits its downtown capital improvement project, the Main Street Refinement Plan, which was adopted by the council in 2015.
The plan was subjected to an extensive public process and sparked a great a deal of disagreement among community members and leaders. It included reconstruction of East Main Street from Eighth Street to the Coast Fork Willamette River and of North Seventh Street from the Cottage Grove Armory to the Community Center. Improvements to the alleys north and south of Main Street were also part of the adopted plan.
Cost estimates for the fully designed and constructed plan in 2020 tallied up to more than $13 million. Because the EDA grant tops out at $5 million, city staff are recommending to limit the project’s scope to only Main Street reconstruction.
The reconstruction of Main Street from Eighth Street to the Coast Fork Willamette River as proposed by the project includes the placement of high-speed fiber, planting of street trees, installation of “street furnishings” and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) facilities “while using best practices of environmentally responsible design and development”.
As of July 1 for the 2022-32 fiscal year, city staff stated in Monday night’s memorandum that local matching funds are available, with $500,000 coming from local street funds, $400,00 from utility reserve funds and the general reserve, and $100,000 from in-kind contributions with the staffing and capacity to fulfill is 20 percent share.
Repealing Tobacco Retail Licensing and Sale Regulations
In its second and final vote on the issue, the city council unanimously voted to repeal Chapter 5.12 of the Cottage Grove Municipal Code regarding tobacco retail licensing and sale regulations. The decision comes as the creation of the Statewide Tobacco Retail Licensure Program has allowed for the city to pass operation and enforcement duties on to the state.
The state program recognizes that there are a few local jurisdictions which have created a local licensing program and the program allows communities to continue to administer locally adopted tobacco licensing programs if they also agree to enforce the provisions of the state law.
To retain their local programs, local governments must enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Department of Revenue. Local communities with an established local tobacco license can choose to allow the state to assume the enforcement and enter into the state-operated tobacco license program.
Cottage Grove is one among few cities which has a local tobacco licensing program and had previously partnered with Lane County in operation and enforcement.
The county, though, has opted into the state-run program, which will result in the loss of coordination between the Cottage Grove and the county.
During the Cottage Grove City Council’s first vote on the ordinance at its Nov. 8, 2021, meeting, staff informed the council that the county had not been engaging in enforcement since 2019.
There will be no cost to the city for the state-run licensure program.
The city council ratified a Planning Commission decision to approve the zone change of 1.57 acres as part of a process of annexing the piece of property into the city. The council voted to annex the property in its Dec. 13, 2021, meeting.
The slice of land on the 78200 block between Highway 99 and the Coast Fork Willamette River will be zoned C-2P Community Commercial, which pertains to commercial areas outside or adjacent to the city’s central business area.
Election of Council President
Councilor Mike Fleck was elected as to continue his role as council president. The council president presides in the absence of the mayor at meetings and acts in the mayor’s stead when they are unable to perform duties.
While accepting the position, Fleck also announced his intention to run for Mayor of Cottage Grove this year. More information on this will appear in a future issue of The Sentinel.
Homelessness Work Session
The city council has a set Jan. 31, 2022, from 6 to 8 p.m. for a work session to discuss options regarding homelessness.
Municipal Court Judge
Cottage Grove Municipal Court Judge Martin Fisher’s request for an increase in compensation during his contract renewal process was approved on Monday by the city council.
The city will a pay a fee of $2,500 per month ($30,000 a year) for municipal judge services. Previously, the contracted amount was $1,950 per month ($23,400 a year) from April 22, 2013 through July 1, 2017. Since then, it has been $2,100 ($25,200 a year).
The city judge contract is for one-year terms, expiring on Dec. 31 of each year.
City councilors awarded Richard Remodeling, LLC, a Community Center roof repairs project in the amount of $781,238.
Civil Engineer Ryan Sisson explained to council that the roof of the Community Center is currently in need of total replacement due to leaking and damage due to heavy rainstorms, despite having been patched and repairs several times.
“It is considerably higher than what we had budgeted,” said City Manager Richard Meyers, adding that the project was necessary to do immediately. “So what we would be doing is we’d be going out and getting a loan to pay for the construction costs.”
The repairs project consists of the removal and replacement of the existing EPDM roofing and repair of any dry rot over an approximately 23,500-square-foot area. Coordination with an asbestos abatement contractor through the general contractor will also be required.
Meyers said the new roof comes with a 30-year warranty.
The bid amount submitted by Richards Remodeling was about $1,000 less than the amount submitted by the other bidder, Umpqua Roofing Company, Inc.
Sisson said that staff came to its decision because Richards Remodeling had a perfect record and was comprehensive in their attention to submitting the correct forms.
“They checked all of the boxes for being a responsible bidder,” he said.
The contractor is required to be substantially complete by Sept. 30, 2022.
Home Share Oregon Presentation
Judy Smith, Lane County representative for Home Share Oregon, presented information about the nonprofit’s mission to “disrupt the housing crisis in Oregon by encouraging and incentivizing homeowners to become a valuable part of the solution”.
For more information about this effort, refer to The Sentinel’s article on the topic in the Dec. 30 edition.
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