Minutes November 13, 2017
November 13, 2017
The Enterprise City Council held a Work session from 7:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. for the purposes of discussing the fire hall rebuild.
Mayor Karvoski opened the public meeting for the Enterprise City Council meeting at 7:30pm. Those present were Mayor Stacey Karvoski; Councilors Jenni Word, Ashley Sullivan, Dave Elliott, Larry Christman, Micah Agnew, Chris Pritchard; Staff Joel Fish, Michele Young, Lacey McQuead, Denine Rautenstrauch, and Ronnie Neil.
Guests present were Bruce Bliven, Joe Volpe, Josh Kesecker, Wendy Stewart, Sean Flanagan, Michelle Kramer, Micki Senn, Serge Morgan, Nick Pearson, Jessica Soto, Julia Zeise, Wacey Seufer, Jason Testerman, and Marty Testerman.
Press; Kathleen Ellen.
Fire Chief Paul Karvoski was absent.
Pledge of Allegiance
Moment of Reflection
ADDITIONS TO THE AGENDA
Eagle Cap Sled Dog Race
Councilor Word made and Councilor Christman seconded a motion to approve the October 9th and October 18th Council Minutes, as well as the October Payables Register.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA Sean Flanagan and Michelle Kramer introduced themselves as owners of the Peace Pipe in Joseph, Oregon. Michelle stated that she came to talk to the Council about rethinking the decision to opt out of marijuana and recreational marijuana sales. She explained that they were here on behalf of their customers and medical marijuana patients in this county who feel that it would be beneficial to allow recreational marijuana sales. Michelle Kramer read from her report: in May of this year, Colorado surpassed the 500 million dollar milestone for taxes collected since the state began recreational marijuana sales in 2014, an average of 13 million dollars per month. Sales of legal marijuana in Washington have climbed to 1.2 million dollars and the state has collected 280 million dollars so far in taxes in the fiscal year 2017 which ended on June 30th. Oregon has collected 108.6 million dollars in state and local taxes between Jan 4th and august 31st. Last month the Oregon Department of Revenue dispersed the tax revenue to schools, public health, police and local governments. The breakdown was 9.56 million to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and Department of Revenue for regulation of the industry. 34 million dollars went to State School Fund, 17 million to mental health and alcoholism and drug services, 12.75 million dollars to Oregon State Police, 4.25 million to the Oregon Health Authority for drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment. Michelle Kramer stated that as of July 1st all local municipalities who have opted out will no longer be eligible to receive any of the above listed tax dollars. She explained that there is no way to say how much the City of Enterprise could receive from the tax of recreational marijuana sales, however based on the research and demographics, taking into consideration our population as well as the number of tourists, they feel the most comparable city would be Huntington. Michelle Kramer explained that at the end of July of 2017, the Huntington City Council adopted its annual city budget, which included $120,000 from the 3% local tax on retail marijuana sales, along with $30,000 from the state tax dispersed to cities, totaling $150,000 in city tax revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. Huntington has two state licensed retail stores. At this point, with only the proposition of one retail store they would be confident projecting an amount of sales for the City of Enterprise to be upwards of $70,000. The more licenses the city holds the more tax revenue that’s generated. She stated that there are numerous Enterprise residents ready to apply for licenses for producing and processing. Other than this opening jobs with the production and processing of marijuana, it would also create other jobs such as security staff and other local professional service providers. Michelle Kramer stated that Wallowa County currently has 138 medical marijuana patients who have to travel at least two and a half hours one way to get their medicine. Not only would it ease the burden of these patients if they were able to get their medicine here, it would also redirect their spending on gas, restaurants, groceries and other local services back to this community. Michele stated that they understand that there are serious concerns regarding recreational marijuana sales, including attracting rift raft and increasing local crime rate. The people they would have on staff for security are experienced military, law enforcement and they will have a very active role in protecting the property and this community. Michelle Kramer explained that they plan on working directly with local law enforcement to ensure that they continue the safety of the citizens in this community. Another concern that they are aware of is getting marijuana into the hands of children. She explained that OLCC has strict regulations regarding this issue, including rigorous monitoring that they have to adhere to. Also, the track record of their business shows that they are very firm on no minors being allowed at the Peace Pipe, as the minimum age to enter the store is 21. Michelle Kramer stated that the last thing that seems to be of concern is that marijuana is seen as a gateway drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has conducted a proof of concept study examining the potential benefits of use of cannabinoids to decrease the withdraw symptoms for people who are coming off of opiates. She stated that they found that cannabinoids are effective in treatment of opioid withdrawal. They also suggest further studies since this is new treatment, including studies for heroin, methamphetamines and most prescription drugs, excluding alcohol.
Jason Testerman asked to speak. He stated that he was raised up here and he knows everyone in the room. In 1990 he went to desert storm and was stabbed three times by our own men. He explained that due to the stabbing, there were multiple parts of his body that had to be repaired. Jason also explained that he is unable to eat without the use of marijuana. He stated that he just had back surgery. Opiate pain killers are the number one killer for the nation right now. Jason said there are a lot of veterans and people in this community that are in need of marijuana, just to get out of bed every day. People he never thought would use marijuana are having to use it just to get through chemotherapy treatments. Jason asked the council to please think about it in another way other than what has been thought about it for the previous year.
Councilor Agnew asked Jason how things would change for him if recreational marijuana was available. Jason stated it would make it more easily accessible, as he has to go to Huntington, Tri Cities or Clarkston, in order to obtain the marijuana now.
Joe Volpe explained that cannabis is already in the community. He stated that as a step parent, his kid could get marijuana easy, easier than alcohol. Joe stated that he believes regulating the sales of marijuana, just as they regulate liquor through a liquor store, could be the solution.
Marty Thompson explained that she believes Wallowa County will have a dispensary soon and because she is a resident in the City of Enterprise, she would like to see Enterprise reap the benefits. She stated that it’s a choice of; do you want to step aside and watch another town get the money or do you want to regulate it?
Surge Morgan stood up and introduced himself. He stated that he is a 90% disabled veteran and is unable to drive. He explained to the council that he uses cannabis and medical marijuana drops prescribed by the VA, but it’s a challenge for him to get his medicine because it’s a long distance to have someone else drive to pick them up. Surge stated that it would be nice to have a dispensary here to make it easier.
Councilor Pritchard asked how this could impact the federal grants we receive. Michele Young responded, stating the federally it is against the law. While it is not enforced at this point, if you receive federal grants or loans, you risk losing them. Michele explained that when you apply for federal funds, you have to certify that you follow the law. Chief Fish stated that the attorney general is accusing Oregon of not upholding a memorandum that has been made between Oregon and the Federal Government, to try and stop the black market of marijuana going to other states. So there is turmoil happening right now between the Federal Government and Oregon in regards to marijuana and the memorandum not being followed.
Michele Young recommended that we have a group formed, do more research to make sure that an accurate report is given when it’s brought back to the City Council. Jason Testerman asked Michele if there is any research he and a couple volunteers can do to help get the information back to the council. Mayor Karvoski stated that the committee will put a group together, including some volunteers to help get the information needed. No further discussion regarding the sales of marijuana.
LIBRARY DISTRICT Bruce Bliven stood up and stated that he is here tonight regarding the library district. He stated that he was out of town at the last meeting, but based off the decision made, he feels that the council completely ignored the survey results. Bruce stated that the council did not provide any information to the public and based off the information from the newspaper, it cannot work. He explained that by allowing the vote to appear on the ballot shows commitment from the City of Enterprise and support for the district. Bruce stated that the citizens depend on the City Council and the City Council has let the citizens who voted for them down.
Councilor Agnew explained that there was a work session earlier in the day. He recommended at that work session that the council not sit passively waiting for the representatives of the library district to come to them, but instead take a proactive stance and figure out what the council feels is in the best interest of our city and community. Councilor Agnew explained that part of the issue is that the timeline was very short for everyone and our attempt to get the opinion of the voters through the survey was not presented accurately based off the lack of information.
Bruce Bliven responded stating that we can’t just increase taxes for everyone. No further discussion.
DEPARTMENT ACTIONS & UPDATES
Administrative Department: Michele Young explained that in addition to the written report previously given to the council, she wrote in the report that she would speak with the administrative committee regarding a new timekeeping program. Michele explained that she had spoken with Joel regarding the new timekeeping program and Joel said that he had used a similar program in his prior position. We are looking further into that, getting some questions answered and we will have more information on that later on.
Michele stated that she is proposing we get a new used vehicle. She explained that she has put money aside in a savings account every year for the purchase. Michele proposed that we take the old airport car as a trade in, make the van the new airport car and purchase the proposed used Chevy Equinox. She explained that the numbers have been gone through and we currently have the funds to purchase the vehicle. The equinox would be more economical for the city. Michele stated that they reviewed all of the used vehicles at both local car lots on their websites and this vehicle was the most affordable with the mileage. The others we looked at were too expensive to purchase for what we were looking for. Councilor Pritchard asked how many miles are currently on the van. Michele stated that she would have to look but we do not put a ton of miles on vehicles, so it’s not too much. Councilor Pritchard moved to approve the purchase of the Chevy Equinox, Councilor Christman seconded the motion. No further discussion, motion passed unanimously.
Michele stated that approximately a month ago, she received a call from Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). She was informed that they were going to require Terminal Gravity to move their sign that sat beside Highway 82, because it sat in ODOT’s right of way. Michele explained to ODOT that they had previously given permits to Terminal Gravity and she did not agree that TG should have to move it. ODOT started contacting TG giving them a certain amount of time to remove the sign from their right of way, at which point Ed from Terminal Gravity contacted her. Michele stated that she called ODOT and told them this has happened before and she felt they needed to go back through their records. Michele stated that the City had given an off premise sign permit in 2003 and it was grandfathered in. ODOT contacted Michele back and informed her that after checking their records, they found Michele to be correct and have since sent a letter to TG informing them that their sign could stay where it is.
Public Works: Ronnie Neil stated that the only thing he has to add to the report previously given the Council, is that the Public Works Department has begun hanging the Christmas lights throughout town. Councilor Agnew asked how progress with the GIS mapping system is going. Ronnie stated that the crew has gone out did some testing and inspections and they are now working on numbering the valves. He said that once all the information in entered, it will be handy for the department.
Fire Department: Written report submitted. Mayor Karvoski stated that the Fire Department will be doing the “fill the boot” event this weekend starting at 10:00am.
Police Department: Police Chief Joel Fish stated that around the middle of October the department surpassed the amount of cases they had in 2016. He stated that the Trunk or Treat event this year was a huge success. Joel informed the council that Cody Billman is doing very well at the academy and scheduled to graduate on February 16th, 2018.
Library: Denine stated that the council has her written report. She told the council that she brought with her a notebook she created regarding the library district, in case any councilor had questions. Denine stated that they are trying to make sure that any services currently provided, will continue and she is happy to answer any questions anyone might have. If this happens, this will be a huge transition.
Wallowa Memorial Hospital Opportunity Fund Request:
Mayor Karvoski recused herself. She stated that the hospital has a wellness committee and the committee tries to offer different kinds of activities. She stated that they are active in promoting health in the hospital and the community. They have been wanting to complete this walking path project for a long time and their hope is to have a walking path that goes to the east side, behind the hospital and then circles around to the Winding Waters Side. As part of this, we have to raise money on our own. She stated that the Gifts of the Heart at the hospital has pledged $5,000.00 and they are asking $5,000.00 from the City of Enterprise.
Michele explained that originally Stacey had called and was going to ask for $2,000.00, but she recommended $5,000.00 because this is a great community project. Councilor Pritchard asked if the City of Enterprise would have any liabilities. Michele answered no, Councilor Word stated that all liabilities would be on the hospital. Councilor Elliot said that he is in support of it but would like to know when they plan on having it completed. Stacey stated that their goal is this summer. They are still looking for more grants to help with the remaining funds needed.
Councilor Agnew asked if this grant is awarded and they fall short, is there opportunity for them to come back and ask for more. Michele responded yes, explaining that the motel tax money is coming in and we are doing very well with it. She stated that at one point the fund was very low, but now we are back up and it’s doing good.
Councilor Christman made a motion to award the Wallowa Memorial Hospital the Opportunity Fund Request of $5,000.00. Councilor Agnew seconded the motion. Councilor Word and Councilor Sullivan abstained from the vote. Motion passed unanimously.
Bus Tour Fund Request:
Wendy Stewart stated that in the past the Council donated $10.00 gift certificates for all the passengers on the bus. She stated that this year she was thinking we could increase the amount of each gift certificate, only giving out a few instead of one to every passenger. Wendy stated that she would like to have at least two $25.00 gift certificates for each bus, totaling $100.00, or go back to giving everyone $10.00 gift certificates. Mayor Karvoski stated that she thought that is what we did last year, or something similar to that. Michele stated that Wendy originally thought of doing four gift certificates that would be in higher amounts. Michele asked Wendy if she had a preference on how she would like to see the gift certificated separated out. Wendy stated that she did not have a preference and was appreciative of whatever the council decided. Michele stated she thinks there is more interest to award someone a gift certificate for winning a drawing, rather than giving everyone $10.00 gift certificates. Michele recommended giving each bus $300.00, four $25.00 gift certificates and four $50.00 gift certificates. Councilor Word made a motion to approve giving each bus $300.00, separating it out as four $25.00 and four $50.00 gift certificates. Councilor Sullivan seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Winterfest Street Closure:
Wendy Stewart explained that the street will be closed for the parade from River all the way down Main Street. Michele asked if the closure would stop at Warde Park like it did in previous years. Wendy answered yes, from River to Second Street, that way there is an area where the kids can play. Michele recommended putting a sign on each street with information on when the street would be closed, that way the public is informed of the closure in advance.
Wendy Stewart added that Winterfest meetings are now taking place every Wednesday at 8:00am at BeeCharmed.
Councilor Agnew made a motion to approve the street closure application for Winterfest on the 8th and 9th of December. Councilor Pritchard seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Eagle Cap Sled Dog Race:
Michele stated that the street closure is for January 18th from 1:00-4:00 pm when the sled dogs are parked on Main Street for the public to see. Councilor Pritchard made a motion to approve the street closure for the Eagle Cap Sled Dogs on January 18th from 1:00 to 4:00pm. Councilor Word seconded the motion, motion passed unanimously.
NEXT COUNCIL MEETING
December 11th, 2017 at the Assembly of God Church.
Meeting adjourned at 8:42pm.
Stacey Karvoski, Mayor
Lacey J. McQuead, Administrative Assistant