Wednesday night, the Toledo Council held it’s first council meeting with their new Interim City Manager Don Munkers, recently retired from the city of Burns in eastern Oregon. The council warmly welcomed Munkers to the city as the TV cameras whirred away; you can see city council sessions on the internet by going to the city’s web page: CityofToledo.org
Although there were several positive comments made by councilors, Jack Hataway’s offering was a rather constructive one. He opined that although everyone admired and respected former City Manager Michelle Amberg, who left to be City Administrator for the City of Creswell, it may be time for some fresh eyes on city assets, challenges and strategies – sewer and water utilities and, from Mayor Grutzmacher, targeting some city surplus properties to sell to help re-build city’s financial reserves.
Munkers told the council that in the few short days he’s been on the job he’s very impressed by how well the city functions and of the quality of it’s employees. He says he still has a lot to learn but he’s happily up for the challenge. Councilor Hataway said he hopes Munkers will take a sober assessment of the city and offer suggestions for improving the way the city operates and deliversw vital services to the community. Reminding Munkers that he’s the “interim” city manager, he has a comfortable opportunity to be frank with the council. Hataway said “You have nothing to lose by being frank with the council, and we have everything to gain from it.”
Munkers said he thoroughly agrees with Hataway’s characterization of the opportunity.
Meanwhile City Aquatics and Recreation Manager Joe Andrews had some good news for the council – the pool, closed since mid-January, should be back open full bore by Friday. He said the pool’s main water system pump bought-the-farm about three weeks ago and had to be replaced. Andrews said he found a replacement but it took it a while to get it here – from Florida. Again the pool is full of water. It’s just taking more time, due to the cold snap, to get the water temperature back up to everyone’s favorite…varying between 88 and 89 degrees. Again, open again sometime Friday.
Police Chief David Enyeart reported to the council that it doesn’t look promising to see the Siletz Tribes renew their contract with Toledo for police services in Siletz. The Siletz Tribe claims they can’t afford to shoulder the financial burden alone. Recently the Siletz City Council refused to put a police services property tax increase on the ballot saying that many in the tiny town are retirees who can’t afford any more higher taxes. Chief Enyeart said the contract provided two additional officers on the Toledo Police Department. He said there shouldn’t any layoffs since the police ranks are down 2 full time positions at the moment. Those slots, he says, simply won’t be filled.
Providing regular patrol services for Siletz has, in the past, been brought up again and again and again. But nothing has been done about the situation.