This version of the article published in the June 3, 2015 Mount Shasta Herald includes the two final lines that were inadvertently omitted from the print issue of the paper.
Five new ordinances were approved after their second reading during the May 27 Mount Shasta City Council meeting.
Some of the ordinances were amended prior to approval, then the council accepted a transfer of Parker Plaza from the Mountain Runners, reviewed the monthly report of the water conservation committee, adopted a resolution for the City of Mount Shasta to be exempt from a state requirement to implement an organics recycling program, approved a credit line from Tri Counties Bank, and approved a resolution to award a sidewalk project construction contract to Timberworks.
Prior to the second readings of the city ordinances, citizens Valerie Vickland and Roslyn McCoy asked council to clarify the wording of the ordinance restricting sitting and lying on public property.
Vickland thought the wording was too broad; she expressed concern that it could target groups such as store employees who want to sit on a curb in an alley behind their businesses during a break.
McCoy expressed concern that shuffling the homeless population around to different areas of the city is not addressing the underlying issue.
McCoy said, “Where, as a community, do we want them to go?”
Police Chief Parish Cross responded. He said the ordinance restricting sitting and lying on public property does not include parks, special events or benches that are provided by businesses. “Target’s a pretty strong word,” Cross said. “The police department’s got far bigger things to deal with than folks sitting on the sidewalks. This ordinance is designed to respond to what the businesses have requested of us.”
Prior to presenting each ordinance, Cross reiterated that the purpose was to address an issue with the transient population that citizens and business owners have complained about.
The ordinance restricting sitting and lying on public property passed 3-1. Mayor pro tem Jeffrey Collings said he voted nay because he only partially agrees with the ordinance.
The ordinance that prohibits smoking marijuana in public passed unanimously. Council member Tim Stearns pointed out that this involves smoking only, not other methods of marijuana consumption.
An ordinance prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public property passed unanimously. Chief Cross pointed out that it does not apply to parks and special events. He said its intention is to prevent people from drinking in parking lots and Parker Plaza.
Councilors amended the ordinance about dogs in the downtown area to make it more clear that groups of aggressive dogs are prohibited. The ordinance requires every dog to be on a leash held by its caretaker, and it prohibits tying dogs to posts outside of businesses. The ordinance passed unanimously.
An ordinance regarding the arrangement between the city and the Recreation and Parks District to assist in the management of Parker Plaza passed unanimously. The ordinance recognizes Parker Plaza as a city park.
Mountain Runners president Sean Doyle spoke about the transfer of Parker Plaza from Mountain Runners to the city. “It’s been rewarding to work with the city and to recognize common interests and work toward creating a solution,” he said, thanking city manager Paul Eckert for his assistance.
Mountain Runners will continue to provide $5,000 annually for future improvements to Parker Plaza.
Councilors thanked Mountain Runners for all they have done to benefit the city. Stearns pointed to examples such as the city hall plaza, Parker Plaza, the streetlights and the old fashioned clock in the downtown area.
Organic materials recycling exemption
City finance director Muriel Terrell gave a brief presentation revisiting a topic that first came up in March: California is requiring all jurisdictions to have an organic materials recycling program in place by January 1, 2016. Since Siskiyou County is considered a rural county with fewer than 70,000 people, Mount Shasta is eligible for an exemption.
She recommended filing for the exemption because the city has no infrastructure in place to begin such a project and make that deadline. The exemption extends the deadline for an organics recycling program until 2020. Council voted 3-1 to adopt the resolution to remain exempt. Council member Stearns voted against it, saying that having a deadline would help the city act more quickly.
Mayor Geoff Harkness emphasized the idea that the need for the program in the future could be an excellent entrepreneurial opportunity for motivated citizens.
Talking about water
The first official report on the water conservation committee was given by public works director Rod Bryan. He said that the Cold Springs output is coming up, but is still at a record low. An unofficial report from May 27 had the springs output at about 1,600 gallons per minute. “We are creeping up ever so slightly,” Bryan said, “so if we could keep that up, it’d be great.”
Bryan said the Water Talks program facilitated by California Trout is going great. The third educational talk was given May 21 at The Sisson Museum and taught a large crowd how to identify leaks and conserve water.
He said the fire department is making sure that the city’s underground water storage tanks that are devoted to fire emergencies are full.
Bryan said 160 water meters have been installed, and many leaks have already been identified.
He reminded residents that the city will begin enforcing its new water reduction policies on June 1. A list of the water restriction policies can be found on the city’s website http://www.ci.mt-shasta.ca.us/CCR-15-16.pdf.
Also during the meeting
Council unanimously approved the city to establish a $1,000,000 line of credit with Tri Counties Bank to be drawn on as needed while waiting for reimbursement from the State for the grant funded water projects.
The final resolution to award the 2015 regional surface transportation program sidewalk project contract to the local business, Timberworks, passed unanimously.
During the staff and council comment period, Stearns announced that anyone interested in installing rooftop solar panels within the next year might want to take advantage of a solar rebate program being offered by Pacific Power at a rate of $1.13 per watt. Applications are due July 1, 2015
“That is in addition to the 30% federal tax credit,” Stearns said of the rebate promotion. He added that Ygrene Energy Works will loan funds to cover installation costs.
Mayor Harkness gave an update on the regional water management group. He addressed the public concern regarding the failed test from the Crystal Geyser leach field. The test showed a higher level of phthalates (a group of chemicals used in plastics) than was allowed. “This failed test occurred back in December 2012, was reported to the regional water control board at that time, and that report was submitted April 30, 2013,” Harkness explained.
“I took the opportunity to do some research,” he said, “and what I found was that in May 2013, it was re-tested, and those tests came back normal.” Harkness noted that phthalates aren’t found in all plastics, and the PET type of plastic that’s used to make water and soda bottles does not contain phthalates.
He added that, in his research, he found that the failed test was due to a contaminated lab sample.