Full steam ahead on Voyager-Lake Sewer LID, sorta – Everything old is new again on picking volunteers for budget and planning commission, and South Wall of LCCC lookin’ good!!
The Lincoln City City Council performed another “kiss your sister” maneuver Monday night by approving new city installed sewers for the Voyager and Lake Street sections of Devil’s Lake. It’s a little frustrating for some councilors in that they’re not sewering all the way around the lake – just a tiny part. Councilor Wes Ryan reluctantly voted for the move saying it was a start, but that the real answer is to sewer the whole thing – get it over with – which would accelerate cleaning the lake up by removing all of the failing septic tanks around it.
The vote came after City Engineer Stephanie Reid revealed that a recent survey of property owners indicate that a majority of them in the Voyager/Lake Street area still favor the innovative sewer system to be installed. And that the rise in price for the project, which includes sewer mains and street paving has risen only 7% in the last 3 years – not doubling in price as word on the street has it. Property owners that sign up within three years will be able to get state sponsored financing on fees to hook into the city sewer. Otherwise, to hook in later will require a lot more money up front since low cost financing from the state for city system development charges likely won’t be available.
Mayor Don Williams and Councilor Wes Ryan threw a velvet monkey wrench into the discussions by asking whether expanding the program to take in more homes might be a good idea and by doing that the neighbors could hire a single contractor to do all the installations thereby dodging individual set up fees. Bring the costs down. Staff told the council they’ll bring the project back with some of those ideas more fully explored but mainly containing the new city law establishing the Voyager/Lake Street city sewer local improvement district and establishing a legally binding property owner re-imbursement program for city costs to put in the system. City Attorney Richard Appicello said the project design and who would be involved has been on the front burner for quite a while. Appicello said making a lot of last minute changes in the planning might prove awkward in the eyes of state grant funders.
Again, Councilor Wes Ryan piped up that the city should get much more aggressive at annexing lands immediately outside the city limits so the city could get the entire perimeter around Devil’s Lake sewered – the idea being to reduce the number of days a year that it looks more like pea soup, choked with algae than a place you’d want to go swimming, canoeing or kayaking.
No word yet on when the first contractor’s front loader might be seen getting those sewers in the ground in the Voyager/Lake Street area.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall – that leaks…
The city council, acting as the town’s urban renewal agency, got an update on a fix to the water-soaked south wall of the Lincoln City Cultural Center. And the good news is that it’s fixed and at a cost that came in considerably under what some feared it might cost. Far less than the $50,000 in a contingency fund. A consulting engineer came in and analyzed the south wall and the way it was constructed to shield the building from strong southerly winter winds that pound the coast every winter. The engineer said the south area of the old DeLake School is in pretty good shape, considering its age. And that the repairs made took pretty well. Lots of strengthening and inter-wall attachments and re-enforcing – sealing the bricks against the weather.
So, the project was completed in a very timely manner. Unfortunately for LCCC Executive Director Nikki Price and the gang at the LCCC, they had a water pipe break on them a few days ago that flooded part of the building’s basement. They’re working on that fix right now.
Getting back to the old tried-and-true way of picking volunteers to serve on city advisory committees.
Monday night the city council filled five vacant positions on the city’s budget advisory committee – giving the council some “on the ground” sense of what the citizens would like the council to accomplish in the new fiscal year starting July 1st.
But the committee selection process did not go smoothly. Part of the reason stemmed from the departure from the old method of selecting committee members by the old city council. With a new mayor and several new councilors, the selection process got a big scattered. Mayor Don Williams and one of the new councilors were interviewing candidates on their own, while the traditional method of two formally council-appointed councilors doing the interviewing and vetting, kind of got left on the side of the road. The upshot was that the two councilors who thought the old system was still in effect interviewed some candidates while Mayor Don Williams and one or two of the other councilors voted into office last November interviewed some of the other candidates. The result was that some candidates were not vetted in a consistent way – and at least one of them didn’t get interviewed at all.
It became clear that such a “ships passing in the night” approach to interviewing candidates for important city committee assignments wasn’t working. So it appears that the new council will re-launch the old system of specifically appointing two councilors to do the interviewing and report back to the council. That’s not to say other councilors couldn’t sit in on those interview sessions as well.
And with that the council approved the following to sit on the city’s budget advisory committee: former Mayor Dick Anderson, John Skipper, Stacey Baird, former city councilor Henry Quandt and outspoken critic of city government Jerry Warner. To fill a single vacancy on the Planning Commission the council selected Douglas Bryson.