McNary’s Marshallese dancers, new potential garbage rates and the monitoring of Keizer’s parks

A nearly full Keizer City Council, met on Monday, May 20, in the city council chambers to discuss a series of administrative actions, begin settling a PERS dispute and review the plan to install cameras in Keizer’s parks. 

Two Marshallese McNary students, Alice Ward and Kessy Balos, represented McNary’s Islander Club by kicking off the night with a cultural dance performed in the city council chambers. 

No public comments were made at the meeting. 

While conducting city business, the council first held a public hearing about solid waste pickup in Keizer as the two companies that serve Keizer, Loren’s Sanitation and Recycling Inc. and Valley Recycling and Disposal Inc., have proposed an adjustment to the solid waste collection rates in Keizer. 

Councilor Soraida Cross abstained from the discussion due to a conflict of interest as her husband has been an employee of Loren’s Sanitation and Recycling Inc. for nearly 28 years. 

The proposal was made by Sean Edmunds, Loren Sanitation’s new COO; Dan Stranding of Mid-Valley Consulting and John Sullivan, Loren’s Sanitation general manager. The proposal came due to the ever-rising inflation rates nationally as well as the increasing rates within Marion County. 

The proposal includes two rate increases, the first in July of this year (5%) and the second on Jan. 1, 2025 (3%). 

Examples of this increase provided by a slideshow in the May 20 meeting minutes on page 13, which displays the new proposed prices with a 20-gallon service at $30.28 per month, 35-gallons at $33.37 per month and the 65 gallon bin at $44.69 per month for the July increase. 

The proposal also suggested a new trash service of a 95-gallon bin which would cost $52.00 per month in July of this year as well as $53.56 per month next year, should the rates be approved. 

The last increase occurred 18 months prior, in 2023 and was caused by increasing federal prices to conduct waste disposal and recycling. 

For January of next year, increases start at $31.19 per month for a 20-gallon bin service to $46.03 per month for the 65-gallon trash service. 

The council decided to set a public hearing on June 3, to receive Keizerites feedback on the proposed amended rates. 

The council reviewed again the proposed ordinances for the five neighborhood associations in Keizer. The original proposal was made in an August 2023 city council session and again in an March 2024 work session. 

The council slated the conversation again as, during the last discussion about it (March 2024), the vote to uphold the new proposed ordinance needs to be unanimous. 

The newer ordinance would make language within the rules more inclusive as well as more legal and up-to-date standards. 

The new ordinance would also measure how neighborhood association members post on and use social media. 

The last update to the city’s neighborhood association occurred in 1993, nearly 30 years prior. 

The council unanimously voted to approve the new ordinance. 

Keizer Police chief Andrew Copeland gave a description of the new License Plate Reader (LPR) cameras as well as body cameras for members of the Keizer Police Department (KPD) as currently the department has only four body cameras between the more than two dozen officers who go out on calls or patrols. 

More information about the camera system can be found in the May 20 meeting minutes starting on page 35 of the agenda packet. 

Copeland mentioned that KPD has put in a matching grant for around $75,000 for the body cameras but has yet to hear back on whether or not it was approved. 

The purchase will include 22 cameras as well as camera operating software. Cameras will be placed in Claggett Creek Park, Keizer Rapids Park, Keizer Little League Fields, Carlson Skate Park, Willamette Manor Park as well as Bob Newton Park. 

Multiple bids were made for the project, both local and national, with the winning bid coming in at $67,347.30 from Brite, a New York-based security company. Stone Security providing camera licensing for five years at $6,239, Dell gave the best server price for $18,909, installation done by All on Electronic for $13,965, AT&T provided cellular service for the system at $550 per month and $10,000 in unanticipated costs, bringing the final price tag for installation at $116,460.75. 

Funding for this project would come out of the remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. 

Keizer Police Sgt. Arsen Avetisyan spoke about the cameras, noting how the parks mentioned have the most issues with crime as well as how there are 11 total locations cameras will go with at least two cameras per location. 

Cameras at the new turf field were mentioned by City Manager Adam Brown who said that cameras could be placed when the turf field is in the second phase of its build process. 

Councilor Soraida Cross brought up the issue stating how “the turf fields around town are very much an area of concern.” 

A motion was made and approved unanimously to purchase the camera equipment and required licenses. 

The council reviewed a proposal to allow Brown to enter into an agreement with Cherry City Electric company in order to begin the needed electrical work to install and work the cameras that will be purchased. 

Bids received varied, with the winning bid going to Cherry City Electric for $118,093. 

Funding for this project comes from the city’s remaining ARPA funds and has been earmarked for the purpose. 

The council discussed resolving the PERS issue it has been dealing with since Dec. 2022. 

The situation follows around 44 former Keizer city employees who, due to an accounting error made decades ago, did not have their retirement coffer earnings matched by the city. The issue involves the City of Keizer using the PERS handbook for information about how to invest in PERS. The issue though, is that the city’s contributions made to a deferred compensation account were not subject to salary, which should have been the case, according to the city staff report. 

This means that, essentially, the city of Keizer underpaid city workers in regards to their retirement PERS benefits. 

The staff report also mentioned how PERS did not want to originally be involved in the repayment issue, however, after persistence from the city, they agreed to help streamline the process and help the city avoid having to settle with each affected retiree individually. 

In total, to make the issue copacetic, the city will need to provide $500,000 to provide some sort of relief to retirees, which the staff report details will be brought up again at a later date. 

The entire amount owed is around $3,000,000, though this number still needs to be verified by an actuary. 

The council unanimously voted to have Brown work directly with PERS staff to correct the reporting issue rather than attempt to solve the issue without notifying PERS. 

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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