Oroville adopts $6.4 million budget for 2011

OROVILLE – The Oroville City Council adopted a 2011 budget of $6,368,500, approximately $2 million less than the 2010 budget due to fewer major projects slated in the new year.

The new budget, Ordinance 798, was adopted unanimously following a public hearing at the council’s Tuesday, Dec. 7 meeting after a motion by Councilman Ed Naillon and seconded by Councilman Tony Koepke.

“The 2011 budget includes the purchase of a new police vehicle, with most of the purchase price coming from a Stonegarden grant; a two percent increase in employee wages, which were not increased last year; the second year of the five-year software conversion; replacement of the booster station pump and turning the old state park ranger home into summer vacation rentals,” said Kathy Jones, city clerk-treasurer.

Jones said the decrease in the budget over last year is due to fewer major projects, like the Main Street Pedestrian Sidewalk and the Bio-Solids Projects.

A public hearing was also held to consider the extension of the Interim Critical Ordinance #799. Chris Branch, Director of Community and Economic Development, said this was not a moratorium on the existing ordinance, but an extension “until we can get something we can live with.”

The extension is partially in response to the Department of Ecology and that the ordinance also is involved with the Shoreline Master Program.

“Now we are getting into this and I see a six month schedule,” Branch said. “It is unknown how the impact of Ecology suspending rules making will affect this. We’ll go through our process… it’s become unknown when they will adopt it.”

Koepke made the motion to adopt and Councilwoman Neysa Roley seconded it and the ordinance was approved. After the ordinance was adopted unanimously the hearing closed.

A third public hearing was held regarding the potential for Oroville applying for a state Community Development Board Grant (CDBG) for water rehabilitation projects totaling about $800,000. The city has a need to rehabilitate one of its wells, fix a reservoir roof and replace a generator at one of the booster stations.

“That’s what the city perceives as important needs and that’s what we are applying for. It is part of a bigger effort to keep rates low within the city limits for moderate- to low-income families, which are over 60 percent in the city of Oroville.” Branch said.

The council also discussed the ongoing update of the city’s Water Comprehensive Plan. Ben Varella from Verella and Associates Engineering said the final water system plan was complete and the initial plan was submitted last spring. The Department of Health will have final say on the Water Comp Plan, according to Branch.

Branch and Permit Administrator/Building Inspector Christian Johnson have moved their offices from behind the partition at the back of the council chambers to the former Visitor Information Center on Main Street.

“We just moved in, we got a real good deal on three big desks from GSA in Auburn,” Branch said.

The council approved Amanda McAllister’s plan to paint the interior of the building as her senior project at Oroville High School this year. McAllister hopes to get the work done over the Winter Break.

The council voted four to one to pass on the offer from RE/MAX Lake and Country Realty for the remaining year on their lease of the south side of the billboard on Main Street. After discussing the final costs all council members except Koepke did not think it would be a good value at this time.

“To drop 4K to control that much visual space is a lot,” said Councilman Naillon. “I think billboard companies are struggling and that isn’t much of a deal at this time.”