Happy Thanksgiving! There are many amazing things for me to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for a great city council and mayor who have set a visionary strategic direction for our city. I’m thankful to work with amazing department heads. Unless you know them well, you would truly be amazed at how many hours they put in and how devoted they are to their jobs. It’s not just a job for them, it’s a mission filled with purpose. I’m thankful for the great community partners who work together to solve community challenges. I’m grateful for the amazing people of Ontario that make this a great community. I’m grateful to have a supportive family that puts up with a very irregular schedule of a City Manager. I hope you all feel equally grateful as I am this time of year.
Here’s what’s gone on this past week.
We received a $132,109 grant award for the Treasure Valley Connector trail this week. It’s very exciting to build Ontario’s first multipurpose recreational trail! We are hoping for a spring construction.
Diversity Advisory Committee
The DAC met this week. They will be holding a strategic planning meeting in February.
Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee
The Marijuana Ad Hoc Committee met on the same night as the Diversity Advisory Committee. The Ad Hoc Committee went very well.
We will be launching a survey we have created on social media to assist with the wayfinding project that is underway. You can participate on the City Facebook page when it comes out. Please share it with anyone who uses our community including business owners and those who just come for work. We need to hear from everyone.
Rural Fire Board
The mayor and I met with the Rural Fire Board on Monday. We gave them our support and suggested a few places that may be able to help with the cost calculation for a contract they are working on with the Snake River Correctional Institute.
We walked City Hall and the Airport with the engineers from LS Networks to scope out the fiber installation.
Day Wireless has been here this week installing the exterior cameras at City Hall. They made progress at the parks and airport too.
911 User Board Meeting
The 911 Users Board met Thursday afternoon. The topic of discussion was the new tax on cell phones passed last year and whether it would reduce the Cities (Ontario, Vale, & Nyssa) contracts for 9-1-1 services within Malheur County. The Sheriff’s staff affirmed that those costs will reduce our contract. The timing is slower than I realized. Cell phone companies start collecting the fee in January of 2020. They don’t pay the state until March of 2020, so the Sheriff won’t see those funds until July of 2020. So, at the direction of the Budget Committee and City Council it will be used proportionally to reduce the public safety fee on water bills. Citizens could expect a reduction in their public safety fee in July of 2020 and July of 2021.
We reviewed a product this morning for streamlining online and in-house processes and forms. Our leadership team will look at it next week. We are always looking at more efficient ways to serve the community
Community & Economic Development
Staff is reviewing 7 building applications this week and has issued 5 building permits this past week.
The City has processed 5 land use actions this past week with a total of 68 land use actions so far this year.
Dan is continuing to work on amending Ontario Flood Plain Code (10A-47) to meet the new Oregon Model Code and federal regulations (FEMA) and will bring that forward to the planning commission and city council.
The construction plans for the Airport sewer extension project, which is a council strategic priority has been reviewed and approved by the City Engineer and should go out to bid next week. Our Community Development Director Dan Cummings saved us at least $15,000 by doing the surveying and drawings himself.
Chief Romero conducted interviews of the three finalists for the second code enforcement position. All three applicants are Ontario residents and brought a variety of experience and talents. Chief Romero will be extending a conditional employment opportunity to the top candidate.
Chief Romero facilitated a multi-agency training course at OPD instructed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The purpose was to provide all law enforcement agencies within Malheur County with updated marijuana regulation and enforcement information.
Chief Romero conducted a presentation on the history of the American Justice System and Policing at the Four Rivers Preparatory High School. Chief Romero conducted an interactive classroom shooting range competition with NERF Guns and empty soda cans. Of the 20+ students that participated, Chief Romero and the school staff gave out three awards to the top 3 student competitors, which included a “Top Gun” award. The event was very fun and productive for the Chief, school staff, and the students.
The roof was partially installed on the new shelter at Lions Park, but the project is not complete. The shelter looks great and will be a positive asset for the community in the future.
Staff addressed multiple water leaks throughout the city; primarily water services that have degraded over time.
Leaf pickup began on Monday, November 18 and made 2 complete circuits throughout town to pick bagged debris. We have a small crew this week to address any bags we may have missed last week.
Staff began preparing trucks and sanders for this week’s predicted snow fall.
Two staff members attended an in-house maintenance training seminar in Portland; they will in turn train the rest of our staff on new tools and procedures on our electronic maintenance management system.
Modifications were made to the chemical feed system including a double check valves on specific chemical feed lines to prevent failure.
One staff member passed his state mandated certification exam. He makes a total of 10 staff members that upgraded their certification levels this year.
Parks and Cemetery
Leaf mulching at the parks continues. Leaves have not dropped as quickly as we would have liked so mulching continues longer than we would have liked.
Crews went over snow removal equipment to assure reliable operation for winter.
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.