Addressing issues but not much in the way of decisions at Lincoln City City Council – They’ve got to work on them!
The Lincoln City City Council tackled some major issues Monday night, but as they tackled the issues, the issues tackled them back. Case in point – the federal government is encouraging coastal cities like Lincoln City to get low lying homes near the ocean higher in the air – however that’s done. Building a second story is pricey when you realize that the ground floor is a sitting duck. But at the same time, research geologists strongly predict that when the Cascadia earthquake hits the Oregon Coast, probably in the next 50 to 75 years, the beach and surrounding areas will sink at least 10 feet – probably more right on the water. So destruction of even a two story house is likely unavoidable. A likely scenario is after the shaking stops, residents will have about 10 minutes to get to higher ground because the earthquake/ocean surge will be arriving within minutes. More “planning” is in the works.
**** Correction on perspective of water/sewer charges.
A more complicated issue then came up – the council turning its attention to giving a fair number of Lincoln City residents a break on their sewer bills. Here’s the issue – the city is charging water customers for every gallon they use – even for the water they put on their vegetables, flowers and lawns. However, water use in the laundry room, kitchen and bathrooms goes down the drain and is shipped off to the water treatment facility – but not the water that’s used outside for growing food, flowers, trees, lawns, bird baths including swimming pools because that water keeps replacing what evaporation takes away. It’s not processed in the sewer plant. So the idea is this – the city is proposing to charge for treating only the water that goes to the sewer plant. Water purchased for growing lawns, flowers and swimming pools would be still charged for, but would not be applied to sewer bills. They stay on the water bills only. So there could be a net discount for qualified water customers who use a lot of water for lawns, flowers and farm animals. That means some water bill payers will receive negotiated reductions in sewer bills whose total, until now, implied that every drop of water going through their water meter will also go through a sewer treatment plant meter. And so the city seems willing to pass on the savings (so far) to Lincoln City water customers who do a lot of outdoor watering.
The council was a little taken aback with this picture but, none-the-less, they didn’t give up on the idea that somehow this new approach to charging honestly for actual “sewage load” (there’s no sewage load for outside watering) could still be made to pencil out. To say the least, “To Be Continued.”
The council then turned its attention on the rebuild of the West Devil’s Lake Road bridge which has been described as truly being on its last legs. Out of four bidders for the job, the city picked HP Civil Engineering out of Stayton. HP will design and build the bridge for just under $1.2 million. ODOT will pay most of the bill. Construction will start this fall. It also appears that during construction, emergency vehicles and sometimes regular commuters will still be able to get through there. At least that’s the plan. They may have it finished by early summer next year. If it’s a rainy spring maybe mid-fall.
The council got a rather unflattering report on how Lincoln City’s 4th of July celebration turned out. Lots of fun, live music, good times but also still too many headaches. It seems that what was described as a “too lenient” approach to outlawing fireworks on the beach really got out of control. City Manager Ron Chandler said it appears that stepped up law enforcement is in the offing with strong penalties against those who continue to flaunt the law on fireworks on public beaches in Lincoln City. So, more law enforcement, more police beach rigs and lots of fireworks confiscations and police writing expensive tickets for violators are likely in the works for next year’s 4th of July in Lincoln City.