By Gus Burril
Madas City Administrator
It's been busy at Madras City Hall the last few months, as all departments have had several big projects they've been working on in addition to the day-to-day services we provide our constituency.
Truck Stop plans
City staff has been working with the Warm Springs Indian Head Casino and Confederated Tribes staff on an intergovernmental agreement for building a truck stop with gaming slots, a restaurant, and fuel bays on Cherry Lane near Highway 26. The agreement included negotiations on a portion of the developable property that was city-owned, which city services would be utilized, adjustments to the Highway 26 and Cherry Lane intersection, and cost-sharing on road maintenance due to higher traffic volume and heavy truck traffic. All parties should be ready to sign the agreement by the first week in March.
South Y sign replacement
Back in December, the South Y monument sign was destroyed by an errant driver. After finishing the claim process with the driver's insurance carrier, council and staff determined this was an opportunity to increase the size of the lettering on the sign to make it more readable to drivers. Next steps include bidding out the work, setting up a contract, and getting in the queue with a contractor.
Golf course under new management
With the unfortunate passing of Dean Ditmore, the city solicited for new golf clubhouse management and after reviewing several proposals, chose Desert Peaks Golf Enterprises. We're excited about their interest and new ideas to enhance the playing experience. Some of the proposed changes include the addition of a driving range, improvement of the golf cart storage area, and improved irrigation management.
After the snow
No one is happier about the snow break than our Public Works Department; after working double shifts for almost three weeks, they're finally getting a break. Now the paperwork begins; since there was a declaration of emergency for our area, the city hopes to recoup some of the costs associated with this snow event by seeking reimbursement from FEMA.
Wastewater Master Plan update
The last official wastewater master plan was developed in 1996. The Department of Environmental Quality requires master plans be updated at least once every 20 years. The engineering company of Harper Houf, Petersen & Righellis Inc. is leading the effort and held their first public meeting in January. As new development comes into the city, specifically the industrial area, this master plan will help us answer questions regarding capacity to serve these new developments. In addition, it evaluates the current system, condition and lifecycle of its components, and provides information on what we need to do to in the next 20 years to repair and/or update those systems to maintain reliable service.
Budget preparation for FY 2017-18
City department heads began in December to prepare the city's next fiscal year budget (FY 2017-18) — forecasting revenues, analyzing cost changes, scheduling capital improvements, grant acquisition, evaluating adequate staffing and service levels, etc. The preparation of the proposed budget will continue into March and our first meeting with the budget committee will be in April to consider approving the budget.
Airport/urban growth boundary expansion/HB 2743
City staff has been working on annexation of airport property into the urban growth boundary in an effort to streamline the permitting process for future development; add zoning and ordinance overlays into the city's jurisdiction to administer airport master plan and land-use decisions; and extend the city's property tax base to help sustain services.
Additionally, we are seeking support through House Bill 2743 to finish moving the urban growth boundary around the entire airport property (about 1,200 more acres) versus doing it in phases according to the current process, which can be costly and time-consuming according to the state of Oregon's mandated processes. If passed, this bill will realize a significant cost savings for our taxpayers and it makes good sense.
Meetings and planning around public works, traffic, safety, coordinating information across county lines, continuity of messaging, marketing, and helping to bring government agencies together with the private sector are the main focuses for Lysa Vattimo, our plan facilitator for the solar eclipse. She fields calls from potential visitors from all over the world, answering their questions about where to stay, when they should arrive, and what to expect, and she also provides information to local businesses and residents to help them prepare for the influx of people. To stay informed, we have a web page dedicated to this endeavor — www.MadrasEclipse.com — and you can follow us on social media using "Madras Eclipse."
Meeting with the State Ways and Means Budget Committee hearing at the PAC
At the recent Ways & Means Committee meeting held at the PAC, Mayor Royce Embanks, Police Chief Tanner Stanfill, and Councilor Richard Ladeby all attended to seek support in four areas of concern for Madras — state support of 911 dispatch funding; transportation funding; HB 2743 airport UGB expansion; and recreational immunity.
As a reminder, our Community Grant Project applications are in full swing; applications are due March 3!
If you're interested in Madras' transportation system (vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian), join us on Tuesday, March 7 at 4 p.m. at the COCC Madras campus and provide input on our Transportation System Plan update.
In addition, we still have an open seat on the City Council and we are looking for citizens to be involved in the following committees/commissions: Madras Redevelopment Commission and Budget Committee; City Budget Committee; Planning Commission; Public Works Committee; and the Urban Forestry Commission. If you have questions about any of these positions, please call the City at 541-475-2344.
This is just a snapshot of how your city staff are at work for you each day. We welcome your input at any City Council meeting — the agendas are posted on our website at www.ci.madras.or.us.