City Council approves Block Party street closure

The street closure was just one of several agenda items approved

June 22, 2019 — The June 17 City Council Meeting covered a wide array of issues including approval of a street closure related to the 2019 Community Block Party, consideration and adoption of a resolution to amend the city budget and a request from City staff to renew an expiring service agreement with the Florence Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting opened with public comments from three individuals that reside in Florentine Estates. These residents were requesting the council to intercede on their behalf to limit estate sales within the Florentine property. The complaints centered around excessive traffic and noise associated with the estate sales and the possible interference with first responders the sales might create in the case of an emergency.

Mayor Joe Henry, while acknowledging the concerns of the speakers, suggested the council was not the best entity to address the issue.

“Normally we don’t respond [to public comments]. But I will provide a brief response. Number one, this year’s event were progressing well. The City’s request for closure was granted unanimously by the council.

Action items for the council to consider was next on the evening’s agenda and Resolution No. 18, Series 2019,  a request from staff to adopt a budget amendment resolution, supported by Administrative Services Director Anne Baker was passed unanimously. The resolution authorized the addition of higher-than-anticipated revenue be included in the City’s Biennial budget.

Prior to Baker’s presentation, Public Works Director Mike Miller asked the council to adopt Ordinance No. 6, Series 2019, which would extend the timeline for waivers and/or deferrals of the collection of certain system development charges in order to encourage development of affordable housing. Both staff recommendations were accepted and approved by the council. The last action item of the evening was a request from the city articulated by Weese that the council approve a renewal of the agreement between the city and the Florence Chamber of Commerce for marketing, promotion, events management and tourism coordination.

The city currently has a contract with the Chamber that pays them for organizational  contributions to events and their broader promotional efforts.

Councilor Ron Preisler pressed Weese on the specifics of the agreement between the Chamber and the City, suggesting changes needed to be made to the agreement to provide councilors and city staff with a clearer picture of the work being done by the Chamber.

“During our goal setting sessions, I brought this up … because there were certain goals that were conflicting between the chamber and the city and there are no measurements for what the chamber is contributing for that $ 175,000,” Preisler said. “I’m not saying they don’t do their job, or they are not worth it — but there is no measurement for it and there are things that I feel they could be doing to assist the city more than they are doing.”

Reynolds responded to Preisler’s concern but reminded him that the contract currently in effect was scheduled to expire soon.

“Unfortunately, due to timing and this [agreement] expiring within a month, for that discussion we would not have enough time … I think that’s a good point that some better measurement data be included in the contract in the future” Reynolds said.

Preisler accepted Reynolds comments but was the only vote against approval of the extension with the Chamber.

Reports from committees finished the evening with Florence Police Chief Tom Turner reviewing the Western Lane Mental Health Report and the program the county will fund to address the issues raised in the report. Reynolds updated the council on FEMA’s acceptance into the Lane County Hazard Mitigation Plan and the progress being made on the housing code update project.

The next City Council Meeting will be held Monday, July 15, at Florence City Hall.

Video News