Toledo choosing to regulate Medical Marijuana, on the prowl for a new city manager, future of the Toledo Pool, timeline for water project and count down to Toledo PD pulling out of Siletz
Toledo City Councilors, against the wishes of their Police Chief David Enyeart, decided to open up Toledo to medical marijuana sales with an additional opportunity to tax it. They reasoned that medical marijuana is moving forward in Oregon and that they want its considerable tax revenues to accrue to the city treasury. The council, although concerned about Toledo suffering a down-tick in its image to the rest of the region, said not only is medical marijuana being accepted nation-wide, the federal government has announced that it won’t prosecute the sale of the drug as long as there is no criminal element associated with it.
The council instructed City Attorney Wes Chadwick to immediately begin drawing up regulations on where and how medical marijuana dispensaries can set up shop in Toledo and to explore taxing the sale of the drug to medical marijuana card holders and/or their caregivers. Chadwick said he could have a set of proposed regulations fairly soon for the council’s consideration.
The council Tuesday evening also formally launched their search for a permanent replacement for former City Manager Michelle Amberg who left the city in January to take up a similar post with the city of Creswell, south of Eugene. Interim City Manager Don Munkers, formerly with the city of Burns, has been filling in until the council hires a new permanent city manager. The council gave their candidate recruiter some instructions where to advertise and what qualifications the council would like to see in a successful candidate. The consultant said the new city manager might be hired by late September or early August.
The council received a report from Toledo Pool Manager Joe Andrews that a recent evaluation came up with a long list of maintenance and upgrade issues the pool faces in the near and medium range future. After reviewing the document councilors quickly came to the conclusion that the city may be faced with a tough choice – sink money into an aging pool that requires a big expense just to maintain the status quo, or build a new one. The pool recently lost a major pump but fortunately Andrews found a used one in Florida that was recently installed. So far it’s operating just fine according to Andrews.
However, it’s the long term future of the pool that the council wants to determine. They said Toledo relies on the pool as an important community resource for health and recreation and that they couldn’t imagine Toledo without one. However, the town is also having to come up with lots of money for sewer and water upgrades that are already a huge burden on the city’s budget. The council told Andrews that the city will proceed with a more detailed analysis of the pool’s strengths and weaknesses and try to figure out a smart way keep a municipal pool in the city’s future.
Interim Public Works Director David Inman reported to the council that the combined cost of installing a new Siletz River water intake and transport pipes across Olalla Lake has turned out to be slightly lower than originally forecast. He said he’ll have the successful bids ready for council approval at their next regular meeting. Inman says if all goes according to plan, the city of Toledo will have a much upgraded water source coming from the Siletz, all the way to Toledo and its water treatment plant by this time next year. However he reminded the council that once those two large improvements are made, more costlier repairs and upgrades to Toledo’s distribution system will have to be tackled and revenue generated for that work.
And Police Chief David Enyeart reported to the city council that his department is winding down its role as the primary law enforcement agency for Siletz’s 12-hundred resident community. Toledo’s contract with the Siletz Tribe expires on March 18th and the tribe has notified Toledo that when the contract is up, it won’t be renewed. Enyeart said the tribe was looking for some financial help in keeping Toledo PD THE law enforcement agency in the community. But the tribe apparently lost heart when the Siletz City Council voted recently to not ask the community to weigh in on the issue – turning down the possibility of a referendum on whether residents would tax themselves enough to keep Toledo PD on the beat. So after March 17th, Toledo PD pulls out of Siletz, leaving the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office as the primary law enforcement agency for the town.
Despite Toledo’s withdrawal from Siletz, it will provide backup assistance, when asked, to whichever agency responds to an emergency in Siletz – whether it’s a sheriff’s deputy or an Oregon State Police Trooper. Chief Enyeart said that the Siletz area has a substantial crime issue, especially when it comes to illegal drugs. He predicted that it may take a year or so for the Siletz community to realize what’s happening to them, prompting them to make a desperate call for a return to regular comprehensive police protection. Mayor Grutzmacher agreed with Chief Enyeart that unless and until the citizens of Siletz contribute substantially to the cost of regular police protection as desired by the tribe, Toledo Police won’t be available except as part of an inter-agency response to a substantial emergency.