Florence re-ups with RAIN

Estuary Trail moves forward during busy council meeting

Sept. 18, 2019 — The Florence City Council meeting held Sept. 16 began with Mayor Joe Henry reading into the record a proclamation recognizing September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Statistics in the proclamation show increases in the overall number of men afflicted with the disease and in the number of Oregonians effected. In his proclamation, which he presented to Bob Horney, president of the local support group Us TOO, Henry stated:

“Whereas, in the year 2019, approximately 174,650 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate  cancer — a 6 percent increase over 2018; and whereas, in the year 2019, about 31,620 men will lose their lives to prostate cancer — a 7 percent increase over 2018; and whereas, in the year 2019, approximately 1,950 men in Oregon will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 470 will die from it … Therefore I, Joe Henry, Mayor of the City of Florence, do hereby proclaim September 2019 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in the City of Florence and urge all men in Florence to take advantage of the information available at Us TOO Florence meetings, become aware of their own risks of prostate cancer, talk to their health care providers and get screened for the disease.”

Henry than announced that Councilor Ron Preisler had been excused from the meeting and proceeded to appoint Councilor Woody Woodbury as the new ex-officio representative to the Florence Urban Renewal Agency (FURA), filling the position vacated by prior ex-officio City Councilor Joshua Green.

The consent agenda for the evening was approved after a brief delay as Greene asked that action on item No. 3 be removed from the consent agenda and considered separately.

This request was granted by Henry as the council moved on to approve a motion authorizing City Manager Erin Reynolds to enter into agreements that would cost taxpayers $77,000. The first expenditure was a payment of $43,008 to CISCO Systems for software upgrades for the City of Florence phone systems. The second approval was for Reynolds to spend $34,000 to contract services to be provided by Isler Certified Public Accountants for the audit and preparation of the City of Florence’s financial statement.

A statement provided by the Eugene accounting firm accompanied the information provided by staff for the meeting: “We are pleased to confirm our understanding of the services we are to provide the City of Florence (City) for the year ended June 30, 2019. We will audit the financial statements of the governmental activities, the business-type activities, each major fund and the aggregate remaining fund information, including the related notes to the financial statements, which collectively comprise the basic financial statements of the city as of — and for the year — ended June 30, 2019.”

These expenditures were approved unanimously, with no discussion by councilors.

Item No. 3 was then revisited briefly by Greene, who reminded the few members of the public in attendance of the recent history related to the development of the work plans which were bundled and included in Resolution 21, Series 2019.

“I just want the public to know that this is a presentation that is following up on a decision made in a goal-setting session. Where the council, not in front of the public, made certain decisions. It is completely legit and it is fine. I just want everyone to be aware of that fact, and it is drafted very well,” Greene said. “The Public Arts Committee is subject to further work sessions and review, and the process that is introduced in this document is very thorough and very healthy for the city. And at the end of the day, the Public Art Committee has its chance on Oct. 7 to address this council, at another work session, and see what comes from that.”

Greene’s recap was succinct and there were no additional comments regarding Resolution No. 21 Series 2019, which was then passed unanimously.

Two action items were next considered by the council. The first was a request articulated by City Recorder and Economic Development Coordinator Kelli Weese, who asked the council to approve a memorandum of understanding between the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN) and the city in the amount of $30,000.

RAIN has provided worthwhile guidance, information and support to Florence area residents interested in starting or owning a business, according to Weese.

“The city has been working with RAIN for about four years now and this is an opportunity to continue the relationship with this non-profit. … They are providing training, mentorship and a pre-acceleration program, which is basically a start-up boot camp to take their ideas to the next level,” Weese said. “We are super excited to work with them. It’s been a wonderful partnership over this last four years.”

A representative from the group, Ariel Ruben, summarized the workshops and informal meetings held this year and recapped the history and positive relationship between RAIN and the city.

“We love connecting entrepreneurs to four things, and the first is people. That could be mentors or cofounders and other community members. The second would be physical assets. Often times, we find a company may need a kitchen space, or an actual place to house their company,” Ruben told councilors. “Number three is events and programs, which is workshops, pro-talks and pre-accelerator and educational programs. And fourth is capital.”

The recap of the work done by city staff, RAIN and the community members who participate in RAIN sponsored events was expansive. After receiving words of appreciation from the council, the requested expenditure of $30,000 was approved in order to continue the relationship through 2021.

The final action item to be decided was a request from Public Works Director Mike Miller to hire Civil West Engineering to survey and begin preliminary engineering work related to the development of the Siuslaw Estuary Trail.

Miller recapped the earlier iterations of the plan to provide a hiking and biking trail that would allow residents and visitors to enjoy the Siuslaw River in a way that would include the city-owned property on Spruce Street. After Miller’s review, Reynolds told councilors that the estuary trail was an important element of the property and that the development of a trail connecting the plot to the Old Town area and the river would enhance the property’s desirability.

The request for the authorization of $100,000 to hire Civil West was then passed unanimously.

The reports from city commissions and committees was accepted with few comments. During the city council reports, Woodbury spoke of attending a presentation of new Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADUs) and his belief that the inclusion of new codes related to the construction of ADUs in Florence would add to the affordable housing available in the area.

Reynolds’ City Manager Report complimented the work done by all members of the city workforce during the busy summer season. Reynolds went further, citing the extra work done by Miller and his staff during this busy time of year.

The next Florence City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 7, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Florence City Hall, 250 Highway 101. For more information, visit ci.florence.or.us.


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