Depoe Bay: Arch Rock Approved, Conflicts of Interest, Stuck with Census Numbers, But Saving a Lot of Money
Inn at Arch Rock gets permission to expand
The Inn at Arch Rock was given the green light Tuesday night for a ten room expansion to their hotel off Sunset Street in Depoe Bay. Next door neighbors and owners of The Harbor Condominiums had opposed the expansion claiming Arch Rock’s expansion would hurt their views and would be built too close to the bluff face. The city council found that there have been many exemptions to building setbacks over the years, and that the expansion would not harm any ocean views for Harbor Condo owners. Should the owners try to appeal the council’s decision, they’d have to seek intervention by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) in Salem. Depending on the ruling from LUBA, either could appeal to the state Court of Appeals and then to the state Supreme Court.
Depoe Bay: Population 1,398…for now.
Depoe Bay is apparently stuck with 2010 Census numbers that claim Depoe Bay has 1,398 residents (up from 1,174 in 2000). The Depoe Bay City Council contends it’s at least 27 higher than 1,398 because the Census workers missed an entire neighborhood at the top of Collins Street. Councilors received a letter from Congressman Kurt Schrader this week that expressed his sympathy with the council and suggested that they contact the Census Bureau and negotiate a re-evaluation of the count. However, the city had already contacted the Census Bureau and was basically stonewalled. Census officias said that once the Census is done, they don’t accept any new information regardless of the situation. Councilors said that leaving out 27 residents of Depoe Bay will add up to a lot of state and federal money that will pass the town by. Thoroughly frustrated, the council decided to end their campaign of trying to put another 27 residents in the tally. However during the next Census in 2020 you can bet Depoe Bay city officials will be walking alongside the census workers making sure Depoe Bay is accurately counted.
Depoe Bay City Councilors, taking advantage of some of the lowest interest rates in decades, voted Tuesday night to refinance much of the city’s debt; water and sewer loans, mostly. The savings in interest between the earlier financing and the new package approved by the city council will put an estimated $400,000 more into the city’s bank account. City Councilors learned that the city debt re-fi package is expected to approved by the banks by October 3rd. It will also immediately free up money held in reserve as part of the earlier loan package. The council decided to take those reserve funds and put them back into the water fund from whence they came acknowledging the importance of having a large fund for such an important utility.
City Council/Harbor Commission ethics issues clarified
The Depoe Bay City Council was informed Tuesday night that Oregon’s ethics laws are comprehensive enough to accommodate a wide variety of situations in which there might be conflicts of interests in government decision making. Bethany Reeves, with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, wrote the council to tell them that anyone on their Harbor Commission serves only in an advisory capacity. Their votes are not binding. They are only suggestions to the city council. For that reason, if someone on the harbor commission has a conflict of interest based on regulatory or financial changes, all he or she has to do is declare the conflict then continue participating in the deliberations aimed at a decision. However, if a harbor commission issue is up before the city council, any city councilor that has a conflict of interest would need to declare the conflict, then recuse themselves. However, if the issue affects an economic, social or occupational class of people that the “conflicted” official belongs to, then that official can declare the conflict but continue in the deliberations and the vote.
Mayor Carol Connors, who expressed uncertainty about Oregon ethics rules, earlier asked for a clarification. She said she got that clarification and now feels better about it.
City Council Election filing deadline fast approaching
And finally, City Recorder Pery Murray reminded the council and town residents that the deadline for filing for a city council or mayor’s position is next Tuesday afternoon at 5pm. Candidates for office must turn in their nomination signatures (20 registered voters) and their filing paperwork by that deadline at Depoe Bay City Hall.