A Whole New Council! Well, I thought it was a big change last election, and when Council was all seated up there Thursday night, I thought wow, this is even more change from the last time, there are four Councilors that are new. I am looking forward to working with all of them.
SEACT/NEACT – Dan and I participated in the joint Southeast Area Commission on Transportation (SEACT) jointly with the NEACT (northeast). As we expected and hoped they committed the additional dollars toward the Southeast 5th Avenue project. I expressed the city’s appreciation for the additional funding.
Merchant McIntyre – I had an update call with Merchant McIntyre about our grant writing. They had a meeting with one of the new higher ups at the EDA about our project. They are going to do a preliminary review for which they will give us the most likely match case under which we would be funded. That’s going to be from 20% to 50% or in real dollars that’s a difference of $440k and $1.1 million. I spent some of my time today reaching out to Americold and Dickenson Fry Foods for support letters.
Additional Grants they are working on include:
Grantees for Border Board – We were able to get checks cut for all the Border Board Grantees and one picked it up personally. They greatly appreciated the City’s help.
Homeless Shelter – Our small committee had a meeting with Bill Roscoe who runs the Boise Rescue Mission. It was very informative. They have been doing their shelter for over 50 years so it’s a pretty well-oiled machine. They are entirely funded through private donations. Operations are going well at the shelter now.
COVID – I don’t know if you have noticed, but while the rest of the state is seeing a surge, Malheur County has been going down. Our positivity rate has been steadily declining from 15.4%, to 12.9%, and 12.9% over the last three weeks, which is roughly half of where we were a month ago.
Vaccinations are nearly complete for group 1a, which is the first responders and medical care workers. That includes assisted living facility care takers. The Governor threw in teachers between 1a and 1b so that our teachers can get back to in-class teaching. I think seniors are in the next grouping. It’s not very simple to understand and there is not really a time frame on the general public.
We distributed heaters and tents to 3 more businesses this week. That seems to be greatly appreciated.
Walmart – The City was able to lock up an agreement with Walmart for an easement along the Snake River for the Tater Tot Trail. That’s the first big piece of the puzzle.
Airport – We closed out the Airport fence project with the FAA. It’s been done for a while, but it’s nice to get out from underneath all the reporting requirements to finish it up.
The airport committee met Monday night, but they did not have a quorum, so we just talked briefly about continuing operations until our Airport Manager gets here.
Gazebo – We will probably have to get a company to move the Gazebo being donated from the LeBoutillier’s, or maybe better known as “The Garden Answer” Youtube Channel. The crews looked at it and decided they did not have the right equipment. They have someone coming to look at it on Monday. This is a specific goal in the strategic plan, in addition, to the parks master plan.
Ameresco – This is an energy audit to see if there are some savings, we can garner from making improvements. These energy savings would be guaranteed by the ESCo (Energy Savings Company). We may have a presentation ready for you as early as the 19th, but I need to make sure the financials are in order. I’m meeting with them again next week to go over the package.
Fire & Rescue
The Chief and I attended the Malheur County COVID-19 task force meeting virtually. Some of the staff attended a couple of other meetings for the Rural Fire Board and the county vaccine events.
Fire staff is still being done on Zoom. Staff spent a couple weeks on fire cause and origin, and our medical training on the Lucas CPR machine and IV set ups.
COVID-19 is part of our everyday patient care life right now. We are participating and using Station 2 for COVID-19 testing on 12/29 and COVID-19 vaccines on 1/6 to reduce the outbreak.
12/19 1327 SW. 12th St. single family home structure fire. 12/23 - 375 Dorian / Dorian Place Commercial fire sprinkler system failure. 12/25 1356 SW. 11th St. Gas Leak and I-84 MP 375 a car had oil leak onto the manifold and was smoking. 12/26 - SE. 1st St. and SE. 1st Ave. A piece of heat tape in a gutter downspout was arcing. 12/27 and 1/1 Three times the crews responded to 165 NE. 6th Ave. for fire alarm and fire sprinkler issues. 12/27 - 420 SE. 2nd St. Residential tri-plex structure fire. 12/28 - I-84 MP 375 Homeless camp warming fire and 49 NW. 1st St. Smoke smell. 12/29 - I-84 MP 377 Welcome center and 653 E. Idaho two separate car fires. 1/6 484 NW 1st St. Assist OPD with ladder, and 266 Goodfellow had a broken commercial fire sprinkler line.
Erik Hartley, our newly hired Airport Manager will start officially on January 19.
Testing and interviews will be conducted to fill a Police Officer vacancy on January and 21-22.
Officer Reyna will be assisting with seeking out kennel service options, updated abatement processes and fine matrix, and final data migration from the CEO data platforms.
A new OPD statistics report and was created and shared at the city council meeting. The chief is proud of the department for exceeded their Part -1 crime reduction goal for 2020.
Jan 6th- Chief Romero participated in a COVID-19 update seminar hosted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Dr Anthony Fauci MD, IACP attorney Jack Collins and two large city chiefs provided information and legal perspectives regarding the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns taking place throughout the country. Chief Romero distributed the video and information to all OPD staff.
Jan 7th- Lt. Cooper and IT-office Manager Sheri Smith responded to a moderate OPD radio failure. Through their coordination with the city’s communications contractor, OPD was able to operate temporarily from a borrowed MCSO radio frequency until OPD’s main channel could be repaired. It was learned that the radio antenna located at the hospital was failing and was the cause of the radio failure. OPD is working with the communications contractor on a long-term repair strategy.
Jan 3rd – OPD assisted the Sheriff’s Department and State Police on the tragic domestic homicide that was outside the city boundaries.
Jan 7th- OPD responded to a report of a mentally distraught man that was making verbal threats to family members and anyone that attempted to approach him inside their home. OPD was successful in assisting the family members out of the home and preventing any physical confrontation with the subject. OPD was able to use time as a strategy and took the subject into custody, a few hours later once the hostile subject fell asleep. The subject was arrested for various outstanding felony warrants and threats he launched at his family members.
Jan 8th-OPD responded to a vehicle crash with injury in front of the Les Schwab Tire Center on east Idaho. A motorist suspected of driving distracted rear ended a stopped vehicle causing the distracted driver’s vehicle to overturn in the roadway.
This week, Code enforcement operated with reduced staffing due to the departure of OPD’s second CEO.
Officer Reyna focused on city-wide traffic hazard concerns, data collection for abated properties, and updating issued lien records.
Street sweeping is on-going for the next few weeks. We repaired 1 water service that was hit by a contractor. Crews are completing annual maintenance on the Bar screen at SRCI, replacing bearing and seals. Crews also delivered tents, heaters, and propane to business that requested them.
Crews finished the railing on the Beck Park Bridge. Painting will be done when weather permits later in the spring.
The chlorine generator heater failed. Staff replaced the heating controller along with a contract electrician. Crews continued aerator electrical work with Fruitland Electric.
All Ozone HVAC systems have been installed. The HVAC unit at the PW shop that failed was replaced.
Parks and Cemeteries
Staff continue to work on the new trash cans installation. Staff is also trimming trees and repairing picnic tables and benches.
A rental flow meter was installed at the Tapadera Lift station to determine capacity. Staff pulled the flow meter out and will review the data collected. Staff continue to work on the CIP budget. An upgrade will be needed for the new development going in.
Each week, City Manager Adam Brown brings you up to date on the comings and goings of the City of Ontario in The Weekend Update.