Monday June 18 the City Council met in regular session at 6 p.m. at City Hall, Council member Dennis Clark was absent from the meeting. During the first public participation of the evening, resident Paul Person had requested to be placed on the agenda to discuss the city’s water shortage and property usage. Because Person had requested to be on the agenda, the Council was able to directly address him on some of the questions he raised.
The first question Person had was whether or not the city had an accurate account available to the Council or if the Council was aware of the amount of acreage they own, when the answer was negative, Person suggested the city keep that information on hand so they can use that information when determining whether or not they should buy more land.
The second question Person raised was if the Council was aware the city is sitting on an aquaphor and if they city had looked into tapping into that before investing in a pipeline to bring water from St. Joseph. Person said perhaps the city should look into tapping into the aquaphor before continuing with the pipeline. It was explained to Person the city was already invested in the pipeline and there was no way to get out of it. But Council member Becky Curtis, who is on the Great Northwest Water Commission board as the council member said she would certainly be looking into the aquaphor and asking questions. Person also asked why there was already an uptick in the water bills for a water line that had not yet been built. Councilman John Feighert said it was his understanding there were to be small increases now, to prevent a large increase later.
The final item on Person’s mind was the fact that the city owned property behind Walmart was being turned over to the Park Board for possible development and addition of another park. Person expressed his concern and his desire that children not be playing in an area so close to a prison and said he liked how the parks are currently centrally located.
The next person before the council was Doug Schmitz. Schmitz had previously been before the council to talk about an appreciation picnic for the employees of the prison and offered the council a brief update about he had attempted to reach out to the manager of Walmart as the council had suggested and as of yet had not received any responses.
Schmitz went on to address the water shortage issues the city is facing, asking, “How good are your friends?”
Schmitz spoke about how in the flood of 93 the St. Joseph water plant had to shut down because it was in danger of being flooded and the city of St. Joseph went without water for and had to rely on other cities and the citizens of St. Joseph had to rely on the generosity of their neighbors in other cities for resources to bath and have drinking water. According to Schmitz, St. Joseph was practically shut down. Cameron is facing a similar situation if water levels continue to drop and more people do not work to conserve their water usage. The water shortage could result in businesses having to shut down, including restaurants, which would result in little to no revenue for the town. Schmitz said it is not an experience he ever wants to go through again and said Cameron needs a permanent water solution. Schmitz ended his statement with the question, as the water situation continues to worsen, where will businesses and citizens go to get water.
The Council then moved on to the consent agenda – which included the minutes of the last meeting and liquor license renewals for Nelle’s Restaurant and Jonez Travel Plaza. The consent agenda was approved unanimously by the council members present.
City Manager Mark Gaugh presented the city manager’s report in which he told the council he had a meeting with the solid waste community to discuss the trash service and there will be more coming from that.
Nothing had changed with the eTruck building, everything is going ask expected and hopes to have the unit done by August.
Things remain the same with the water restrictions, there is a good chance of rain all week, but it is going to take several inches to get the reservoir back in decent shape.
The Park Board would like to meet after the Park Board meeting at 6:45 with the City Council on June 28th after the regular Park Board meeting.
The first council meeting will be the week of July 4 and Gaugh asked if the Council would like to skip the first meeting in July. The council decided to skip that first meeting.
Mayor Darlene Breckenridge asked Gaugh to come up with a date for EDOC and the Council to go and listen to the downtown program of Chillicothe. According to Breckenridge, Chillicothe has the number two program in the nation for Downtown revitalization and they are interested in presenting that program to the Council.
The Council had a second reading on the changes/updates to the codes concerning animals in the city. Council member Curtis expressed her concern about the licensing of cats and spoke up saying she was unsure it was necessary and wondered how many citizens would actually register their cats. Tim Wymes, Economic Development Director, said it would actually help them to identify the owner of the cat if it was picked up. Council member John Feighert said it is his opinion if one animal is registered, they should all have to be.
The ordinance was passed on the second reading and as the bill is written currently the tag fees will be $10 for a city tag and the dog park license will be separate.
Cameron Memorial Airport Manager Eric Evans and a gentleman who has been planning the Cameron Fly In Air Show were on hand to speak to the Council about the plans for an upcoming small air show planned at the Cameron Airport. The plan is to have a pancake breakfast and have a very short show with the entire event over by noon. This was a last minute plan that came together very quickly.
Manager Evans said all the appropriate permits have been submitted and are being taken care of, the biggest of which is authorization from the FAA. Evans explained there are far more permits and hoops to jump through when any air show happens than most events and there is more insurance required than other events.
Mayor Breckenridge expressed her dismay that this was the first the Council had heard about the event, which will be held in the next couple of weeks. Breckenridge said other organizations had to go through many forms and submitting of a lot of paperwork to be certain their event was approved and being conducted under the requirements the city has. Council member Feighert also expressed his concern that the requirements of the city were being met and his dismay that nothing had been before the Council prior to this meeting.
Council member Corey Sloan told the gentleman presenting the event, that this was not about him or the event, but rather that the procedure is important.
Council member Curtis asked for any events in the future, to make it the responsibility of the city to be certain all the procedures are being followed as they should be, because as a municipality they certainly want them to return and have another event.
Ultimately the Council decided to allow the air show to go on as long as all the procedures and permits were being followed and explained in the future, they will need to be certain the procedures are followed.
Other business before the Council included a second and final reading on a bill to enter into an agreement with HDR for design of water distribution and sewer collection extensions; there was a first reading on an ordinance authorizing a change in zoning for the Public Safety Building allowing for expansion of the building; a resolution for the city to participate in natural hazard mitigation; a resolution to allow the city manager, city counselor and other city officials to implement the Downtown Cameron Chapter 353 Redevelopment Plan; and a resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract with CP Excavating LLC for the East Street project. All were passed unanimously.
The next meeting of the City Council will be July 16 at 6 p.m.