Minutes for Damascus City Council Meeting – July 25, 2019
After the Executive Council meeting during the 5:30-6:30 hour, Mayor DeYoung called the “special” meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Hadley, Johnson and Mayor DeYoung. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Wehr moved to accept the Consent Agenda, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
Mayor DeYoung stated that the first Damascus City Council meeting was on May 16, 2019 and there are two councilors who have not attended any Council meetings. Section 32 (b) (2) of the City Charter states that a vacancy occurs when an incumbent councilor is absent “from all council meetings within a 60-day period.” Positions 4 and 5 meet this on criterion and are therefore vacant. Councilor Wehr moved that the Council declare Positions 4 and 5 vacant per the Charter, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried with all councilors voting “yea.”
Councilor Wehr made a motion to fill Council Position 4 with Jeanne Robinson, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried with all Councilors voting “yea.” Jeanne has lived in Damascus for 46 years, was involved in City government in the past, and commented that she is proud to be considered for the position. Mayor DeYoung administered the oath of office and congratulated Councilor Robinson on her acceptance of the position. She then took her seat on Council.
Councilor Hadley made a motion to fill Council Position 5 with Mark Fitz, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried with all Councilors voting “yea.” Mark was on the City of Damascus Planning Commission since 2010 and was the Chairman at the end. He believes local control matters. Mayor DeYoung administered the oath of office and congratulated Councilor Fitz on his acceptance of the position. Mr. Fitz then took his seat on the Council.
The next item of business was Resolution 19-703, which authorizes the Mayor and/or the City Attorney to represent the City in resolving boundary issues with other jurisdictions. Damascus properties already annexed to Happy Valley will not be addressed. However, cherry stemmed properties may be considered under this resolution. Damascus citizen Steve Hoiland asked if someone could de-annex back to the City of Damascus. City Attorney Ramis responded that this was probably a very remote possibility. The court would most likely stick to the two-year statute of limitations. This resolution allows the legal team to resolve boundaries in the most amenable way. Damascus has a lot at stake as does Happy Valley. Councilor Robinson moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-703, Councilor Fitz seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
Resolution 19-704 was discussed. This resolution authorizes the City of Damascus to establish and operate a municipal court. City Attorney Ramis commented that this resolution doesn’t change the status quo. It allows the Mayor to take steps and gives the authority to establish a municipal court as delineated in the Damascus City Charter. Damascus previously had a municipal court that ceased operations pursuant to an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with Clackamas County in 2014. This resolution is intended to re-establish the prior municipal court after termination of the IGA. Councilor Wehr commented that this doesn’t mean we will do this immediately and spend funds. We should be receiving from the County part of the funds collected by the Court. Councilor Hadley moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-704, Councilor Robinson seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
City Attorney Ramis presented Resolution 19-705 regarding the interpretation of Section 27 of the Damascus City Charter: “State Elections Law”. Section 27 states that “City elections must conform to state law except as this charter or ordinances provide otherwise. All elections for city offices shall be nonpartisan.” Under this resolution 2006 statutes are applicable per the City Charter, not what happened three years ago. The only way to change State Elections Law is to amend the City Charter. This resolution demonstrates the City is a viable entity. Councilor Wehr moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-705, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
Resolution 19-706 authorizes the City Attorney to pursue any and all legal endeavors on behalf of preserving the City. It is a catchall type of resolution. City Attorney Ramis said the purpose is to be clear that the Mayor and staff are able to pursue legal matters on behalf of the City. Councilor Fitz moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-706, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Fitz, Robinson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
Mayor DeYoung said the financial state of the City is desperate and any monetary gifts are accepted and appreciated. At the June 28, 2019 Damascus City Council meeting the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget was adopted and submitted. The Clackamas County Assessor wants to halt implementation of it because of Senate Bill 226. Damascus is dependent on the County and State. We deserve State revenue sharing.
Mayor DeYoung announced that he has copies of the 2013 Comprehensive Plan available as well as CD’s and maps if anyone would like them. Councilor Fitz said the 2013 plan would allow for urbanization while preserving Damascus’ rural feel. Councilor Hadley commented there were three comprehensive plans presented to the voters and all three were rejected. The comprehensive plan needs to be sold to the homeowners of Damascus and meet the needs of those living here. Without a comprehensive plan we don’t have a city. The Damascus comprehensive plan will preserve the legacy or protected neighborhoods.
Mayor DeYoung announced there have been new additions/postings to the City website (www.damascusoregon.city), namely the minutes, and an improved copy of the City Charter.
Mayor DeYoung asked Councilors for their comments. Councilor Wehr congratulated the new Councilors and said there has been a lot of progress since the City Council reconvened in May. Councilor Fitz explained that the Happy Valley comprehensive plan extended 172nd with additional roundabouts as well as other street developments impacting Damascus. Councilor Johnson commented that we should encourage our neighbors to come to these meetings and have a chance to speak to the City Council. Councilor Robinson expressed her thanks for being appointed to the Council and hopes that Damascus is recognized as a City and can keep its rural feel. Councilor Hadley thanked City Attorney Ramis for representing the City so capably and for doing this gratis.
Mayor DeYoung said he is grateful to City Attorney Ramis as well. The Planning Commission will be inaugurated soon and he encouraged people to get involved. The Mayor believes Damascus will become the best place to live in the area. What we do here will last for hundreds of years. He encouraged neighbors to participate. He also mentioned a possible community picnic on August 10 at Centennial Park. This would be an opportunity for the community to socialize as well as meet the Council. Mayor DeYoung needs to clear this with the park and will keep people informed.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:18 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Respectfully submitted by Irene Pugh
Minutes for Damascus City Council Meeting and Public Hearing on the Budget for FY 2019-2020
June 28, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Johnson and Hadley, City Attorney Tim Ramis, and City Manager Richard Carson. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
City Attorney Ramis asked to amend the Agenda by adding an item for Services Contracts. Councilor Wehr moved to amend the Agenda to include this item, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors present. City Attorney Ramis would like the Council to consider two contracts with the following companies: Cushing Civil Engineering for street construction and sanitary systems, and Alder Creek Tree Services. Councilor Wehr moved to authorize the Mayor to sign the contract with these companies based on the emergency need for services, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
Councilor Wehr moved to accept the Consent Agenda, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried by all councilors voting “yea.”
City Manager Carson discussed Resolution No. 19-700, a Resolution certifying the City of Damascus is eligible in Fiscal Year 2019-2020 to receive State Shared Revenues (cigarettes, liquor and highway gas taxes) because it provides four or more municipal services. The Resolution states the City of Damascus hereby certifies that it provides the following four or more services enumerated in Section 1, ORS 221.760: 1) Street construction, maintenance and lighting; 2) Sanitary sewers; 3) Storm sewers; 4) Planning, zoning and subdivision control, and 5) Utility services. This certification is done on an annual basis and was last done on June 29, 2016. City Attorney Ramis asked for public testimony on this matter and there was none. Councilor Hadley moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-700 as stated above, Councilor Wehr seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Mayor De Young voted “yea”; there was no one who voted “nay”).
City Manager Carson recommends the City of Damascus adopt Resolution No. 19-701, a Resolution declaring the City’s election to receive State Revenue Sharing funds (General Funds of the State) for Fiscal Year 2019-2020. Carson explained the City will take those State Revenue
Sharing funds per prior Resolution No. 19-700.
Mayor DeYoung opened up the Public Hearing time of the meeting. Steve Hoiland, a Damascus resident since May, 2016, said we should watch what the County is doing and see what we can do at a lower cost. He felt Damascus should hire the County to do what they have been doing, obtain the funds we can, and prove the city can do a better job over the next several months. Mr. Hoiland commented that we are better off as an incorporated city.
Councilor Wehr moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-701, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, Mayor De Young) voted “yea.” There was no “nay.”
The last item to be considered under the Public Hearing agenda was Resolution No. 19-702, the Resolution to adopt the 2019-2020 budget of the City of Damascus, making appropriations, imposing the tax and categorizing the tax. The City of Damascus Budget Committee approved the 2019-2020 budget on June 20, 2019. The minutes and budget documents from the June 20 meeting are provided tonight for review and comment.
Mayor DeYoung commented that Resolution No. 19-702 tells what the budget will be for the coming year. The City Charter limits the tax increase from year to year. The tax rate for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 was $2.80 and the proposed tax rate for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 is $0.57. No one in Damascus will see an increase in property tax this year. Road taxes need to go back into our coffers and this is approximately $600,000. Mayor DeYoung invited public comment on the budget. There were several spontaneous and supportive comments from the public.
Councilor Hadley questioned the law enforcement budget of $535,800 and whether it assumes the same level of law enforcement as before. The Budget Committee feels this estimate is adequate going forward and takes inflation into effect. Councilor Hadley asked how many FTE’s are included. The budget would cover one deputy to patrol the area (including not only Damascus but unincorporated Happy Valley, Boring, and further east). Mayor DeYoung commented that if this budget is inadequate it can be addressed at a future budget meeting. The budget contains a contingency of $134,200 that could be used to beef up some areas. Councilor Wehr commented that the $535,800 is a pass through; if the City of Damascus is paying this amount then the County would deduct the same amount on their end. Councilor Hadley agreed to this estimated amount for law enforcement services.
Councilor Wehr moved to adopt Resolution No. 19-702, adopting the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 total budget of $1,738,000 and tax rate of $0.57; Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried. All councilors (Wehr, Hadley, Johnson, and Mayor De Young) voted “yea”; no one voted “nay.”
Mayor De Young closed the public hearing time.
Council Business – No further business was discussed.
City Manager and Staff Communications – No additional items were discussed.
Council Communications. Councilor Hadley said he returned to the Council to finish his obligation to the City. He asked that people not pay attention to negative comments. A lot of the negativity is not coming from Damascus residents. He is willing to listen to residents, feels it is good to have control of what goes on in Damascus and move together in a positive manner.
Councilor Johnson personally thanked Mayor DeYoung for persevering and being willing to take on a huge task as well as spending personal finances. He is to be commended for continuing to fight when people were attacking him.
Councilor Wehr thanked everyone for coming tonight. He first volunteered to be on the budget committee before he was elected to the City Council. He feels positive about this budget, that it is a sincere effort to do what absolutely must be done and not spend any more than what is necessary.
Mayor DeYoung expressed his appreciation to all of the Councilors, City Attorney and City Manager as well as those who attended tonight’s meeting. It affirms there are some brave people who will reenlist to make Damascus a successful city. We want to continue to promote reconciliation, not negativity.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Minutes by Irene Pugh.
City of Damascus – Budget Committee Meeting
June 20, 2019 – 6:30 PM
Sunnyside Community Church – 16444 SE Hwy 212, Damascus, OR 97089
Budget Committee Members Present:
Council Members: Mayor James De Young, Councilman William Wehr, Councilman David Hadley, Councilman Richard Johnson
Citizen Members: Brian Pugh, Kerry Montgomery, John Fromwiller, Joe Kelly, Jeanne Robinson, Jay Robinson
Richard Carson, Budget Officer
Max Spellman, Finance Officer
I. Mayor De Young called the meeting to order and welcomed and introduced members of the Budget Committee and the Budget and Finance officers.
II. Pledge of Allegiance
III. Changes or additions to the agenda were requested. There were none.
IV. Budget Committee Meeting
A. Mayor De Young explained the purpose of the meeting, which was to review and approve the 2019-2020 budget and the tax rate.
B. Councilman Wehr made a motion to nominate John Fromwiller as chairperson. Motion was seconded by Richard Johnson. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
C. Budget Officer Richard Carson reviewed budget documents that had been distributed to committee members as well members of the public in attendance.
D. Several questions were raised by committee members, with responses coming from Richard Carson, Max Spellman, Mayor De Young, and others. Topics discussed included franchise fees, law enforcement, road fees, transfers of fees, distribution topics, the comprehensive plan, and the proposed tax rate of .57 per $1000 of property value.
Mayor De Young addressed the challenges that preparing this budget has presented with unknown income based on best guesses, taxes that are unpaid by homeowners at a rate of as much as 6%, and inflation rates of 6.7%. Generally, such budget planning and preparation requires 6 months of feverish work, but due to the remarkable circumstances facing the City of Damascus, our Budget Officer and Finance Officer have completed their work in about 2 weeks! They were thanked for their great effort.
E. Public Comment:
1. Chairperson Fromwiller opened the meeting for questions and comments from the public. Questions included the future spending and tax rates and how they might change over time. Mayor De Young explained that the rates can only go up by a small percentage based on City Charter rules, and anything above those rates would need to be approved by a vote of the citizens. In addition, every thing in this budget is provisional and should not be considered a standard. Other comments were about meeting notices and how they might go out to more area citizens. It was explained that the notices were sent according to City Charter requirements. Further, suggestions that a mailing going to every household would be cost prohibitive, especially considering that the city is starting out with a $0.00 balance. A question was asked about fees to cover elections in the future, and, as some revenue from franchise fees and revenue sharing will be coming in, there will be limited funds available as the fiscal year progresses. In the latter part of the year some proceeds from the tax levy should start coming in.
2. As no further questions were raised by those assembled, the meeting was closed to public comment.
3. Chair Fromwiller made a motion to change line 23 of Not Allocated Requirements to $535,800 and increasing line 29 to $134,200 in order to balance. Motion was seconded by Jeanne Robinson. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
Motion was made by Jeanne Robinson to accept the proposed budget as amended. Motion was seconded by Brian Pugh. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
F. Mayor De Young thanked and dismissed the Budget Committee. Announcement was made that a hearing on the approved budget and tax rate will occur on June 28, 2019 at the same time and place of this meeting. Again, public comment will be heard. Adoption of the budget and tax rate will take place by the City Council that same evening.
Mayor De Young also announced that he and other council members will be available for further discussion on city issues on Friday and Saturday at 1:00 PM at the Arrow Coffeehouse in Damascus.
7:44 PM Meeting adjourned
Respectfully submitted by Jeanne Robinson
Damascus City Council Special Meeting – May 30, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Johnson and Hadley, as well as City Attorney Tim Ramis. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
Councilor Hadley requested one change to the Agenda. He asked that Council Business Item No. 4 (Insurance for City Council and employees) be moved to the first item of business.
Councilor Wehr moved to accept the May 23, 2019 meeting minutes, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried.
Mayor DeYoung has received a letter from the insurance agency the City used before. Insurance for the City Council and employees is being diligently pursued and will be in place soon. Councilor Hadley was concerned that without insurance any city expenditure could possibly result in litigation against individual councilors.
Mayor DeYoung introduced Richard Carson, the new volunteer City Manager to be appointed by the Council tonight. The City Manager is the chief administrative officer of the city and is responsible to the Mayor and Council for all city business. Mr. Carson has an extensive background in public service, most recently serving as president and CEO of Carson and Associates, providing consulting services to the public sector (2017-present). He has also been in consultant management in California (Citygate Associates, 2007-2017); director of community development for Clark County, WA (1999-2007); assistant city manager/director of community development for the city of Oregon City (1994-1998); and director of planning and development at METRO (1988-1992) where he developed Metro’s urban growth program. Prior to this he was a planning director and worked in the administrations of Governors Atiyeh, Goldschmidt, and Roberts (1982-1988). He is near to completing his PhD studies in organizational psychology at Washington State University. He is involved in many professional and civic associations and has received several honors and awards. He has published several writings.
Councilor Johnson moved that the Council appoint Richard Carson as City Manager, Councilor Wehr seconded; so moved and carried.
Mayor DeYoung announced that there is a need for an additional, 7th person to serve on the budget committee. Kerry Montgomery was introduced and has agreed to serve on the committee. Councilor Wehr moved to appoint Kerry Montgomery to the budget committee, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried.
Mayor DeYoung reiterated that the City’s budget must be completed and adopted by June 30, 2019. The new City Manager assured this can be accomplished. Setting goals by City Council and appointment of 6 persons for the budget committee were completed on May 23, 2019. The timeline includes public hearings, publishing notices, and Council hearings for citizen input. The budget committee will also set the tax rate for city taxes. Mayor DeYoung said the goal is to have the lowest tax rate of cities in the area.
Future matters facing the city were briefly addressed as follows:
- Relationship issues concerning Clackamas County and Happy Valley
- Securing office space available
- City Council meeting location
Community communications were discussed. Damascus has no city newspaper. The new web site: www.damascusoregon.city is set up for city communication. “Nextdoor” is also available for communication on city issues. Gresham Outlook and Oregon Live are news outlets; a Facebook page has also been set up: TheDamascus,ORTimes or anewplanforDamascus.
Date for the next meeting is to be determined and is driven by need.
Councilor Wehr expressed concern that weare creating a tax base but not spending money. Mayor DeYoung responded that no one is being paid at this time and Damascus should receive state revenue that can be used to contract with law enforcement. The new city taxrate proposal will go to the Department of Revenue for approval; if approved it will be attached to property taxes and come back to the city. The goal is to have the lowest taxes in the area and Damascus will be a place to enjoy living in.
Councilor Hadley commented that in setting the tax rate we need to get what we want with the minimum amount. The approximate $3.8 million that was refunded to Damascus taxpayers should have been put in an escrow account since there was litigation pending. Also $2 million of Damascus road funds went to the County and the city never saw any road improvements. Mayor DeYoung agreed there were problems with Damascus funds going to Clackamas County and taxpayers. Some of the road funds will be spent in Damascus this summer according to a schedule the County is following. However, the new city of Damascus should have a spirit of generosity and go forward from where we are, making new arrangements with the County and Happy Valley. The Mayor is in contact with the County and hopes to go forward in an amiable way.
Councilor Johnson recommended working through all of this as quickly and amiably as possible. There is a lot of information on the web that is inaccurate or speculative. He commented that Damascus has the advantage of putting something together that can be spectacular. He asked people to get the message out.
Mayor DeYoung asked that people come to the Council with questions. Damascus is in its infancy again and this has never happened before in the history of Oregon. Resurrecting a city is a great opportunity.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:11 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
Damascus City Council Special Meeting – May 23, 2019
Mayor DeYoung called the meeting to order at 6:31 p.m. with a roll call. Those present were Councilors Wehr, Johnson, and Hadley (via conference call), as well as City Attorney Tim Ramis. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were no additions or changes to the Agenda. Councilor Wehr moved to accept the
May 16, 2019 meeting minutes, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried.
Andrew Morrison, appointee to Council Position No. 2, will not be sworn in at this time.
Mayor DeYoung announced the need to approve a city budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019. A Budget Committee will be appointed tonight by the Mayor with Council approval. Mayor DeYoung asked if anyone present tonight is interested in serving on this committee and there was no response. Mayor DeYoung appointed the following committee members based on earlier communication with them: John Fromwiller, Monique Johnsen, Joe Kelly, Brian Pugh, Jeanne and Jay Robinson. Councilor Wehr moved that the Council accept these appointees, Councilor Johnson seconded; so moved and carried.
The goal of the Budget Committee is to come up with a bare minimum budget to start out. The committee will need to set the tax rate and determine the budget. The new fiscal year budget will be approved by Council.
Mayor DeYoung distributed copies of a previous budget document to the new committee members present, highlighting information pertaining to the budget process. Damascus is at the ground level of establishing a city and the first step is determining a budget.
The city will need to secure insurance to protect Council from any litigation.
Other issues facing the city were briefly addressed as follows:
- Securing State revenue sharing: resolutions before end of the fiscal year.
- Securing franchise fees from utilities; note Charter, Section 17 (f)
- Appointing a City Manager pro tem and part-time
- Relationship issues concerning Clackamas County and Happy Valley
- Securing office space that’s available
- City Council meeting location
Community communications were discussed. A new web site: www.damascusoregon.city has been set up thanks to Mr. Fitz. According to Councilor Johnson, “Nextdoor” has been used to announce meetings and should be used to promote factual information. Gresham Outlook and Oregon Live are news outlets; a Facebook page has also been set up.
Proposed date for the next City Council meeting is Thursday, May 30, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. This will be confirmed.
Councilor Johnson thanked everyone for coming to tonight’s meeting and asked for any suggestions on how to best communicate. There is a short time frame to accomplish a lot of work by the end of June. Councilor Wehr mentioned that the current Gresham Outlook has an article about the Mayor’s appointment last week.
Mayor DeYoung acknowledged Christopher Keizur, representative from the Gresham Outlook who attended tonight’s meeting. The Mayor also emphasized the need for a long-term vision for our city and a serious commitment to its success. He wants to hear the voices of citizens, plans to have town hall meetings and is willing to meet in neighborhoods if that is helpful. Mayor DeYoung encouraged attendees to leave their name, email and neighborhood with the Council tonight to assure they are receiving communications. Mayor DeYoung and Councilor Johnson will be at the Arrow Coffee Shop in Damascus Tuesday, May 28 at 12:00 p.m. and encouraged people to join them there.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:34 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.
City of Damascus – City Council Special Meeting (May 16, 2019)
Meeting called to order by Councilor Wehr at 6:30 p.m. Pledge of Allegiance followed.
There were brief introductions and a history of the Appellate Court decision confirming that the disincorporation of the city of Damascus three years ago violated state law; therefore Damascus is still a city. City Attorney Tim Ramis was present and his role is to advise on any legal issues.
There are two Council seats that are currently vacant. Councilor Wehr moved that the Council declare Council Seat Number 2 and the mayor’s position vacant; Councilor Hadley seconded the motion; so moved and carried.
Councilor Wehr moved to appoint Jim DeYoung as Mayor of Damascus; Councilor Hadley seconded; approved by Council. Jim DeYoung resigned from Council Position Number 6 and this was accepted by Council. Bill Wehr swore in DeYoung as Mayor of Damascus.
Mayor DeYoung appointed Richard Johnson to fill vacant Council Position No. 6 and Andrew Morrison to fill vacant Council Position No. 2. Councilor Wehr moved to approve the appointment, Councilor Hadley seconded; so moved and carried. Mayor DeYoung swore in Richard Johnson to Council Position No. 6. Andrew Morrison was absent and will be sworn in at a later date.
Mayor DeYoung expressed his appreciation for being appointed as Mayor. He followed with his thoughts on the direction for the City and the challenges ahead.
Councilors Johnson, Wehr, and Hadley thanked Mayor DeYoung for pursuing something he believed in so strongly and persevering. They encouraged people to talk to the community and get feedback from other citizens. They see this as an opportunity to start a new journey for Damascus and make it successful.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:14 p.m. by Mayor DeYoung.