You'll likely hear a prayer at the next Dunsmuir City Council meeting.
 
The council voted unanimously on Thursday, March 17, to begin every meeting with an invocation, despite objections from several people who were worried that the prayer might blur a separation between church and state.
 
“Personally, I don’t think it’s appropriate,” Dunsmuir resident Lee Chan said. “This is a business meeting.”
 
Mayor Nick Mitchell said he hoped the invocation would inspire more "kind and friendly" dialogue.
 
City manager Jim Lindley said people of differing faiths and denominations would be allowed to deliver the invocation.
 
City hopes to hold on to available low-interest business loans
 
The clock is ticking down for the city to distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars in low-interest business loans. More than $235,000 in economic development block grant funding is set to expire in December. On March 17, the council gave the city manager the green light to ask the state for a one-year extension.
 
Lindley said local entrepreneurs have been hesitant about applying for the loan because a grant condition requires businesses to create one full-time job for every $35,000 borrowed.
 
To clear that hurdle, Lindley said the city should ask the state to amend the city's grant conditions, allowing it to distribute micro-loans. He said the micro-loans, worth $5,000 to $50,000, do not include employment conditions. The council gave Lindley the green light to apply for the amendment.
 
The council also voted to apply for $300,000 more in economic development block grant funding, hiring Great Northern Corporation of Weed to administer the loans and Jefferson Economic Development Institute of Mount Shasta to provide technical assistance to borrowers.
 
Hazardous tree ordinance
 
After making some amendments, the council took its first vote on an ordinance that provides a method for property owners and the city to settle disputes over dangerous trees.
 
Council member Arlis Steele said he proposed the ordinance after a weak tree fell on his neighbor’s property, damaging his neighbor’s home and raising concerns about safety.
 
The ordinance states private property owners who disagree about a seemingly dangerous tree may file a claim, which may lead to arbitration and litigation.
 
City planner Rico Tinsman said property owners have the option of following the ordinance’s guidelines, but “there is noting that ties them to it.”