Depoe Bay City Councilors Tuesday evening filled a number of vacancies on committees that give advice to the council on how to handle various city challenges. Charter vessel operator Dan Zimmerman, fisherman Roman Smolcic and another fisherman Mike McFarland were all appointed to the Depoe Bay Harbor Advisory Commission.
Robert Hickerson was reappointed to the City’s Parks Commission.
The Salmon Enhancement Commission will be getting Beanie Robison and Paul Carver, and Ron Gilliam was appointed to the Depoe Bay Traffic Safety Commission.
As for the sticky issue of who can or cannot be on the Depoe Bay City Council, the council decided to ask the city attorney to review a suggested addition to the city charter on language to that effect. The issue surrounded the recent dismissal by the council of former City Councilor Skip Hoitink who had temporarily (his claim) moved to Newport. He explained to the council that he and his wife were having some issues and that they were taking a “time out” by him moving to Newport for a time. Hoitink jointly owned his home in Depoe Bay with his wife, paid taxes on it, was registered to vote there, and intended to move back in the near future. But a majority of the council deemed him no longer eligible to serve on the council. And they bounced him.
But after advice from the city attorney, the council allowed Hoitink to reclaim his council seat – the attorney saying that he doubted that the council action would hold up under court challenge based on the exact circumstances of Hoitink’s situation.
The proposed new city charter language adds five words to the portion that pertains to the declaration of a vacancy on the council. Those words are “ceasing to reside in the city.” There was additional discussion on it but the upshot was that the council’s request of the city attorney was to see if those words, or others, could accomplish the same meaning.
The city attorney has already told the council that determining legal residency is a slippery issue for the courts. He said in cases that determine legal residency, or more properly, where one declares one’s legal residence, that determination is heavily influenced by where someone CLAIMS it is. It is common for people to travel for work, go on extended vacations, live and work in two different communities, have family responsibilities that keep them away from home for extended periods, etc. But generally where one owns property and where one registers to vote carries heavier weight than other mere circumstantial evidence. Hoitink owned his home in Depoe Bay and was registered to vote in Depoe Bay.
So, we’ll see if the council gets the response from the city attorney that they’re looking for.
The council also voted to make it easier for the council to regularly donate city money to Neighbors for Kids. City Clerk Recorder Pery Murray informed the council that the only legal way to establish such a fund is to make it available to any agency or institution engaged in a specific purpose – not just Neighbors for Kids. Any and all other similarly serving entities must be allowed to apply for “grants.” Because council named the line item in the budget as “Education and Technology Expense Account,” Murray told them that the fund would have to be open to all those agencies and institutions engaging in Education and Technology. But she added that it will always be up to the city council to pick the successful applicant.