Drug bust cash, Gold Star statues and a new committee hiring process

Keizer mayor Cathy Clark with Community Diversity and Engagement Committee chair Thais Rodick as Rodick was presented with the Juneteenth proclamation at the June 17 city council meeting. Photo by QUINN STODDARD of Keizertimes

(The print version of this story misspelled the name of Keizer Parks Advisory Board vice chair Lisa Cejka. Keizertimes apologizes for the mistake.)

A full city council and staff met Monday, June 17, to engage in several public hearings, look into acquiring Oregon’s only Gold Star family monument and discuss the future of how Community Diversity Engagement Committee (CDEC) members are chosen. 

A proclamation was given, honoring June 19, Juneteenth, or the official ending of chattel slavery in the U.S., as a holiday here in Keizer. Thais Rodick, chair of the CDEC, accepted the proclamation certificate. 

Parks Advisory Board vice chair Lisa Cejka talked about a report from the Salem Cricket Club, who are looking for a pitch, a concrete pad of certain size that is flush with the ground.

Cejka stated at the council meeting that the Woody Williams foundation as well as the family of PFC Ryan Hill, are seeking foundation as well as the family of PFC Ryan Hill, are seeking put a gold star family monument in PFC Ryan J Hill Memorial Park, located on Keizer Station Boulevard, here in Keizer. 

Keizer Fire District (KFD) chief training officer Hector Blanco talked about the growing number of emergency services calls the department has been receiving. In total, 579 calls were made in the month of May with a total of 3,074 this year so far, an 11.6% increase from last year. 

These calls were composed of seven fires, 450 EMS calls, 49 calls for service, 73 false alarms and two calls for seasonal fires in the area. 

Blanco noted a car seat clinic on July 9 from 3-6 p.m. at the Keizer Fire District on Chemawa Drive. The event is held in order to put out more safety information to the community about child car safety as well as how to properly install child car seats. 

Blanco also mentioned an upcoming carnival in Keizer on June 28 and sponsored by the Southeast Keizer Community Center, which is a part of the Salem Mennonite church.  

The council held three public hearings first of which dealt with the certification of lighting district assessments throughout the city.

Keizer, on an annual basis, certifies lighting district assessments for Marion County tax rolls for fiscal year 2024-25. In total, there are 211 lighting districts in Keizer divided into subdivisions which are charged by the city based on the annual cost of providing power to a particular subdivision.

The total assessment cost this year is $436,877,77, which is an increase from the prior year’s assessment by around $15,522.22, according to the staff report. The amount listed has already been accounted for in the Street Lighting district fund. 

The council passed the motion to approve the resolution unanimously. 

The council listened to Planning Commission director Shane Witham describe the work of the Planning Commission regarding commission decisions around setback requirements along arterial and collector streets. 

Witham described the changes the commission wants to make including taking a more active role in the activities it influences such as how Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) are partitioned as well as how setbacks are managed around the city as well weighing in on the Keizer station master plans.

A major amendment proposed dealt with setback requirements for arterial roads with the requested change involving creating a standard for setbacks across the city by making the maximum size 10 feet on all streets.

The council passed the motion unanimously. 

Assistant City Manager Tim Wood discussed how, during the May 6 city council meeting, the council authorized City Manager Adam Brown to enter a settlement agreement based on a 2022 drug bust here in Keizer. The total amount appropriate by the city is around $190,000, according to the staff report. 

The staff report also indicated that around $50,000 will be appropriated from the General fund–Non-departmental resources fund in order to move forward with resolving the PERS issue.

The council passed the resolution unanimously. 

The council discussed two resolutions for an extension for an agreement with Metereaders LLC, a company the city employs to read water meter levels and determine charges on residents depending on their water usage. The extension includes an increase in the price of reading each meter from $.65 to $.98 per meter. 

This increase in price comes in part from inflation as well as a new insurance policy Metereaders needed to enact to properly cover employees the company has used electric scooters when traveling and reading meters. 

The council discussed a resoultion to extend a contract to have the water meters within the city read and an associated rate increase. Meters are important to reading and determining how much water residents use in their homes, according to Public Works director Bill Lawyer. 

The proposed rate increase requires an additional $22,500 from the water Fund and has already been included in the 2024-25 adopted Water Fund budget, according to the associated staff report. 

The overall annual cost of $65,900 would still cost less than what the work would cost the city to perform internally, which is what most cities already do, according to Public Works director Bill Lawyer.

The council voted to pass the motion, 5-2, with Councilor Soraida Cross and Council president Shaney Starr voting no.

The council reviewed a resolution to allow Brown to enter into a contract with Hicks Striping & Curbing, LLC for repainting of pavement legends. This involves the pavement markings such as stop signage, lanes as well as bike symbols found throughout the city. 

An issue arose during the discussion of this contract as Lawyer mistakenly quoted the contract as a three year deal when the contract itself annotated the deal as only two years. 

This issue was further exacerbated by the notion that the pricing Lawyer acquired from Hicks was stated to be a three year price rather than a two year price which was what the contract stated. 

Council determined to table to resolution pending a new write-up by city staff. The issue is slated to appear in a future council meeting. 

The council had a discussion on a proposal from the CDEC in regards to how members are appointed to the committee. Rodick noted that, currently, members are appointed by individual councilors now the changes make the Volunteer Coordinating Committee (VCC) would handle the hiring of new members using a specified hiring process with questions. 

Rodick noted that transparency played a big part in the committee’s unanimous vote to approve the proposal as well as the standardization of the process for bringing in new members and increasing the pool of applicants that can be selected. 

The discussion created two sides, with Councilors Cross, Dan Kohler and Kyle Juran determining that their ability to select appointees enabled them to allow a diversity of thought on the committee. 

Kohler noted that he was on his fourth committee appointment but was worried that, due to his appointees saying they were “wasting their time” at the meetings.

None of Kohler’s choices lasted more than two meetings, according to Councilor Laura Reid. 

The council passed a motion, 4-3, to create an ordinance that would make the proposal reality.

No votes were Cross, Juran and Kohler.

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

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