WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY


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Lincoln City: Garbage pick up rates picking up a tick, and City Council committees-up to guide the replacement process for City Manager David Hawker and moving ahead on Bay to Head Trail

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Head to Bay Trail project moving forward

Lincoln City City Councilors Monday night took the first big step in adding a substantial addition to the Head to Bay Trail – by signing funding, design and construction understandings with ODOT and the federal government, which are funding the lion’s share of the project.

The project, which weighs in at nearly $900,000 (with the city contributing $125,000) will see a major boardwalk addition to West Devils Lake Road north of 22nd as well as curb and sidewalk improvements along 22nd past Oceanlake Elementary and the 7th Day Adventist School. An expensive bridge across a creek north of there was abandoned due to enormous cost. So a boardwalk along the west side of Devils Lake Road – no pedestrian bridge.

The project is a slow-mover. The city council Monday night agreed to sign the inter-agency agreement. There’s another agreement later for design, and another agreement well after that for construction. The Head to Bay Trail improvements through that part of Lincoln City are expected to be complete by spring of 2017.

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North Lincoln Sanitary President Tina French

North Lincoln Sanitary President Tina French

Lincoln City area garbage pickup rates rising 1%

North Lincoln Sanitary President Tina French asked for, and received from the city council, an overall 1% increase in trash pickup rates for their service area. French reported that trash and garbage volumes have been growing as the national and local economies have grown – recyclables included. French said North Lincoln Sanitary has received inquiries about starting a composting program as Newport and surrounding areas have started, but she said they have no plans to launch such a program, but quickly added that they’re willing to talk about it.

City Manager David Hawker surprised the room by bolding stating his opposition to a composting program in that he says compostables delivered to the composting operation next to the Coffin Butte Landfill is not capturing the methane gas that is given off as the composting materials cure. That means methane from the operation is drifting up into the atmosphere producing far worse effects than equal volumes of emissions from cars, trucks and fossil fuel power plants that spew carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

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Preparing for the retirement of City Manager David Hawker

The city council selected four members among themselves to spearhead the effort to find a replacement for retiring City Manager David Hawker. Hawker gave his official notice of retiring from his post at the end of the year. But he qualified that by stating he would stay on as “interim” city manager until a replacement for him is found. But he was very clear there is a limit to how long he’ll stay on in that capacity. Hawker told the council that he hopes that they quickly begin their search by hiring a competent search firm that will find far more qualified applicants than just running ads in the usual places.

Hawker said that over 20 years ago the mere announcement of a city manager opening would evoke a flood of applicants – many of them quite qualified. “Not so today,” he said. “Out of 20 you may get 1 or 2 if you’re lucky.”

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Hawker went on to admonish the council that although there will be criticism from some corners of the community that spending upwards of $50,000 for search and recruitment services is a waste of taxpayer dollars, fifty thousand is a wise investment in a position that can eventually pencil out to a million dollars. Hawker said that an advertisement for the job will mostly attract those who are either about to be fired or who aren’t working. An effective managerial search firm will know who is where, what they’re doing, how well they’re doing it, and whether Lincoln City might be able to entice them away. Hawker said it’s a much better way to attract truly qualified applicants

The council appeared to agree with Hawker’s view of the challenge. Hawker suggested that he be allowed to review various managerial recruitment firms and recommend to the council who he considers to be the top contenders. On a parallel course, a subcommittee of the council will be holding public meetings to discuss the qualities, talents and skillsets they want in a new city manager. Those elements will thereby help guide the recruitment firm in their search for candidates.

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Once a strong list of candidates is assembled, the council will interview them, conduct several meet and greets with city staff and the public, all to get a sense of who would be the best fit for the city. If a new city manager is selected, Hawker said it would likely be someone who is already working. And if that’s the case, he would not expect such a person to just abandon his or her old job. He or she would want to help the council there find and transition a new city manager. So it could take a month or so after that to actually see her or him on the job in Lincoln City.

And all this could take a while. But again, Hawker said he doesn’t want it to take “too long.”

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The council decided that members of the council review committee should be those who will remain on the council after the first of the year – Roger Sprague, Wes Ryan, Chester Noreikis and Mayor Dick Anderson – even though Anderson’s term expires at the end of the year and who may become a county commissioner shortly after the first of the new year.

So the process is in place and the search is on to replace Mr. Hawker.

Council buys another piece of “workforce housing.”

In a move that carries with it the prospect of temporary housing for newly hired high ranking city employees while they look for permanent housing, the city council agreed to buy a home at 1132 SW 9th, which borders the south side of city hall. But Hawker also hinted that the homes along that stretch of SW 9th may face an uncertain future in that city hall will be more and more challenged to provide more parking for those who work or use services at city hall, including the library.

The city council agreed to pay a price negotiated with the homeowner – $110,000. The money will come from a fund that does not affect funding levels for police, fire or other vital city services.

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