“Sittin’ on the docks of the bay, watching the tide roll away…”
The Depoe Bay City Council experienced a sobering moment Tuesday evening when they got an estimate of what it will cost to replace some of the aging docks in the harbor.
After determining the stress and strain from wave actions, storms, winds and all the rest, the consulting engineer came in with a price of $2.5 million dollars. It was immediately obvious to the council that Depoe Bay is a pretty small town with no powers to collect a property tax and therefore in no position to whip out the checkbook any time soon.
But they do have a plan. Grant searching. There are many grant sources for such projects, many of which are along the coast and because the coast is not the richest region in Oregon many grants are routinely awarded so as to maintain the economic activity made possible by those docks and bays. The council indicated that it would like to have the money in hand within the next couple of years so they can move ahead with dock and piling replacements for docks 2,3,and 4.
Fireworks between City Councilor Steve Sparks and the Depoe Bay City Council when the Chamber came by for their check…
A representative of the Depoe Bay Area Chamber of Commerce stopped by the city council meeting Tuesday night to pick up a $4,999.00 check to help pay for the Chamber’s annual tourism promotional advertising campaign for Depoe Bay and to address a question about the Chamber’s basic financial health.
The Chamber representative said the chamber is an all volunteer non-profit organization. Nobody’s paid. It exists totally because of volunteers, of which they can always use more of. But Councilor Steve Sparks again raised the issue of the council not knowing the overall financial health of the chamber so the city knows who and what they’re dealing with. That raised the ire of the chamber representative which prompted Councilor Sparks to get a little upset saying that “the city just writes these checks and yet we don’t know important information about the chamber or how they finance the city’s and other events.
The chamber representative said again that the chamber is all volunteer and that it works very hard to keep Depoe Bay visible to the regional markets of Oregon. She also said the chamber has a contract with the city that makes no request that the chamber should divulge all of its financial dealings. She said the chamber has been fulfilling its obligations on tourism promotion and special event advertising for the town. Nothing else is required in the contract.
Sparks and other councilors expressed gratitude for the expert promotion talents of the chamber but wanted to sit down with the chamber to become more comfortable with the year-after-year preferential contract the chamber gets from the city for tourism promotion duties, hence the $4,999 amount – just under $5,000 which would otherwise trigger an automatic call for bids for any and all tourism promotional agencies that might care to do the job.
As the conversation became re-grounded and cooled off a bit, it was agreed that a meeting between the chamber board and the city council should happen fairly soon so that both sides can feel more comfortable with the arrangement.
And the Chamber IS getting their check for $4,999.00.