But the evening started off with the introduction of the newly promoted Raymond Fire Captain Bill Didion. Raymond Fire Chief Todd Strozyk requested to introduce the new captain prior to any of the scheduled agenda items so that Captain Didion could return to his duties at the fire hall.
"Bill has been acting captain for a while, and we are happy to have him as part of the leadership team and promoted to the position of captain for the Raymond Fire Department," said Chief Strozyk.
Didion has been a member of the Raymond Fire Department for almost eight years. The council all greeted and congratulated the new captain and then set into the regular business of the city.
After the approval of the consent agenda, previous meeting, minutes and payout of just shy of $400,000 in claims and payroll, the meeting moved swiftly on to the first reading of Ordinance No. 1835: Floodplain Regulations.
Speaking on behalf of the city was Scott Pearson of Raymond Public Works, who took the floor and went through a little history of how FEMA is updating the current floodplain allowances.
"FEMA has been looking over floodplain areas for the past two years...and 90% of the changes on the Ordinance are due to current updates and are required in the new policy," said Pearson.
During his explanation, Pearson spoke of how FEMA has changed their datum from using the sea level data from the National Geodetic Survey NGVD-29 datum to NAVD-88, and in the conversion, the old 1929 data requires an addition of some four feet to the base elevation to a basement to equate to new (1988) standards.
The recommendation from public sessions and the planning commission was to try and keep everything at the new and current elevation and reflect it at 14.5 feet for new construction in Ordinance 1835. With the expiration of the cities flood insurance pending on May 18, Ordinance 1835 was moved to its second reading on council's recommendation taking in Mr. Pearson's findings. If any additional changes were needed another public hearing would be scheduled.
The council moved onto the next agenda item: PACCOM radio equipment.
Fire Chief Strozyk took the helm in explaining to the council what was happening in the world of 911 and the unfunded mandate for the equipment.
"The equipment was purchased earlier and now needs to be paid for. It was decided to divide the total bill among the user groups. The Raymond share is around $51,000," said Chief Strozyk.
PACCOM is a division of the Pacific County Sheriff's Office in charge of all 911 service in the county.
A motion was made for the mayor to authorize an inter-fund loan to cover the expense and discussion followed.
Raymond Clerk/Treasure Hester Gilleland let it be known that there was no money in the general or capitol funds to be spent.
Chief Strozyk noted that the county had pushed this to the user groups after budgets had been set for the year.
Mayor Jason Dunsmoor spoke of a possible tax increase that would cover future payments, but did not address the current need for a first payment due this December.
Other options had been looked at like a regional 911 service, but that also was determined to be more expensive.
When it got down to the vote to approve or not, the council was split 4-3 not in favor and the motion failed. Council members Ian Farrell, Ray Robinson, Randy Flemetis and Vicki Flemetis all voted against the motion.
The meeting took on some of the current city lease agreements to see if there was any economy to be made to save a little in expenditures. Earlier in the year, several council members took on the task of looking into the current contracts and were ready to give some recommendations.
Some of city contracts with the non-profit museums and facilities including the Timberland Library, are fairly standard in that the city pays for sewage, garbage and water and work a sliding scale in paying electricity up to a predetermined cap.
Councilman Robinson volunteered to have a look at the Northwest Carriage Museum, and reported that he could not find any real savings in the way that the city contract was operating. The museum never seems to meet any cap on electricity and the operation is running well. The cities' contribution was around $7,700 to the NW Carriage Museum last year, and positive income for the museum was $2,700. The museum is very conscious of the city money and keeps everything as efficient as possible.
Councilman Kaley Hanson presented his findings with the Raymond Theatre and his focus was more toward restructuring the way the position of manager might be paid to add additional incentives for additional revenue. There was some discussion as to an advertising budget and the role of the advisory board as well.
"There is really no incentive for the manager to do well in the position. Nor is there any penalty for not doing well," said Hanson.
Clerk Gilleland did note that there was some incentive for the manager who also is responsible for running two apartments in the same building, if they are kept occupied. Councilman Hanson called for a look at the manager position contract to see if there could be a way to create additional revenue for the facility.
Councilman Ian Farrell was working with the Raymond pool contract and said that it really needed to be aligned more with other contracts, as it was a very unique contract that for the most part had not really been adhered to. Annual utilities for pool operation were $5,000.
When the contract for the Timberland Library was looked at, Councilwoman Betty Sovereign said that there was really not a lot of wiggle-room currently. During discussion, it was brought out that the Timberland group might be requesting annexation; like they have with other facilities in other municipalities. The council did discuss that it might be an advantage and looked into the possibility of introducing it on the next general election ballot.
Councilwoman Dee Roberts, while looking at the Public Market, also noted that things were running slim and did not see a lot of gain making any changes.
The discussion will continue at future council meetings.
The lone Department Head report came from M. Dean Parsons and Public Works calling for the mayor to sign a closeout for the Raymond Lagoon Project. He also advised that the council place in an Environmental Covenant so that future developments could not involve public use such as a park.
During the Mayor's Report, the topic of a future meeting to be held outside of normal council chambers was voted in and it was decided that the May 18 Raymond City Council meeting will be held at the Carriage House Museum, at the normal meeting time.
The regular session of the Raymond City Council moved into an executive session for approximately 15 minutes and a vote to enter into a joint prosecution with South Bend and the engineering firm of Gray and Osborn, Inc. was approved. The litigation has to do with a contractor working on the wastewater treatment plant that ran into big cost overruns.
The meeting finally adjourned at 7:30 pm.
The next Raymond City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 20 at 6 pm.
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