Dunsmuir honors local student, unveils new city website, considers a presentation by city councilor Bruce Deutsch proposing that the city install fiber optics and become a 'gigabit city,' passes water conservation measures.

The July 2 Dunsmuir City Council meeting began with the presentation of a certificate of appreciation to high school student Gentle Pride for his help with the city-wide clean up on June 20.

Mayor Dave Keisler thanked Pride for his volunteer service in helping to remove hundreds of pounds of trash from the city.

A public hearing was held to discuss adoption of a new water conservation ordinance and appoint new members to the planning commission and airport committee.

Ordinance No. 547, implementing water conservation measures in response to Governor Brown’s drought restrictions, passed unanimously.

City manager Randy Johnsen explained that, if the ordinance were not adopted, the city would be required to provide the state with monthly reports proving a 25 percent reduction in water use.

All citizens who spoke at the hearing supported adopting the ordinance.

Council decided to table the appointment of new members to the planning commission and airport committee until the next meeting. Applicants were not notified that they needed to be present at the meeting for interviews, and a few were missing.

Council member Bryce Craig introduced the new city website, which went live July 2.

The upgraded version includes all of the information that was found on the old city website, with the addition of a news sidebar that links to several other sites related to activities in

Dunsmuir.

Craig said the new website will allow council members to contribute informational updates, similar to a blog, that can be shared via social media websites.

Council member Bruce Deutsch commented that this could be an excellent way to share information with the public on what’s going on with committee meetings and projects. Videos from the city council meetings are also posted on the website.

Council member Craig announced “really good news,” from the integrated regional water management group. Two out of the three projects that were submitted to upgrade Dunsmuir’s water infrastructure were approved to be included in this round of Prop 84 grant applications.

If awarded the grant money, Dunsmuir would receive full funding for one of the projects, a total of $650,000. The second project would be partially funded at $600,000.

The Belnap Fountain is on its way to getting a face-lift. Plans to cover the fountain in a tile mosaic were considered, and council unanimously voted to advance the project to the planning commission.

A staff recommendation to request bids for the removal of dead, dying and otherwise hazardous trees from the city was discussed. A list of trees that need to be removed or trimmed was created in response to complaints received by the public works supervisor.

In the public comment period, citizen Mike Bush said that he thinks it’s important to remove the trees for safety reasons. He spoke highly of the arborist who compiled the report.

‘Making Dunsmuir a Gigabit City’

Deutsch, the newest council member who was appointed to replace Dick Kelby, is wasting no time with attempting to manifest his visions for Dunsmuir. He presented a Powerpoint proposal on installing fiber optics called, “Making Dunsmuir a Gigabit City.”

He proposed to upgrade Dunsmuir’s Internet connectivity by installing fiber optic cables that would enhance the economy by drawing in small tech companies.

According to Deutsch’s presentation, the plan would negate the issue of geography by allowing people to base their businesses in Dunsmuir and communicate all over the world.

As an example of how fast fiber optic Internet connection can be, he said a full high definition movie could be downloaded in about 30 seconds.

“While tourism will always play a key role in Dunsmuir’s economic future, the city will not return to its economic vitality until we have replaced the two major industries that had been the city’s foundation: the railroad and logging,” Deutsch states in his report.

His vision involves attracting small to medium sized tech companies from Silicon Valley to Dunsmuir.

“Let the courting begin!” Deutsch said. “As a city, if we could now start establishing this vision, we could become one of the most connected small town cities in the country.”

Deutsch continued to explain his goal of “Dunsmuir 5 by ’20,” meaning that he envisions a full population of 5,000 people by the year 2020. He thinks a boost in technology could help to achieve that goal.

Deutsch suggested the city get creative when considering installation options. He said that hiring someone local could drastically reduce installation costs as well as help maintain the city’s control over the project.

Greg Messer, president of the Siskiyou Media Council, commented that Mount Shasta has been investigating options for fiber optic installation. He suggested collaboration between tech committees. The Dunsmuir council decided to pass the topic on to its tech committee.

November ballot measure

Council unanimously approved the addition of a ballot item regarding the transactions and use tax of one half of one percent to the Nov. 3 special election. The tax will be used to help fund the library and recreation and parks district.

City manager Johnsen gave an update on the Trophy Trout committee, adding that marketing strategies are in place. The committee collected an additional $500 in donations to buy more fish, and Trophy Trout t-shirts have been ordered. Mayor Keisler has taken over as chairperson, a position previously held by Chris Raine.

More information on Dunsmuir’s Trophy Trout program can be found on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/pages/Dunsmuir-Trophy-Trout/288024361403014.

Solid waste committee and Ordinance 544 petition

Deutsch announced that the solid waste committee is discussing how to handle the overage that has accumulated because the city has been charging too much for waste pickup.

Some options presented in public comments included giving citizens a break from solid waste fees for a period of time or developing a green waste facility.

The petition on Ordinance No. 544, adopting Dunsmuir’s city code, was discussed.

Craig explained that the ordinance is important because it allows the city of Dunsmuir to have a municipal code that can be enforced. Within 30 days after the ordinance was approved, a petition signed by 133 individuals was received.

Council unanimously voted to revise the ordinance, removing three items that generated dispute. One of those items concerned marijuana cultivation.

Citizen Mario Rubino spoke during the public comment period, clarifying that those three items are now completely canceled from the ordinance.

Carol Scialdone was appointed to the CDBG/EDBG loan committee.

During the public comment period, Rubino commended the council for its hard work and progress in enhancing Dunsmuir.

Linda Gnesa informed council that about four feet of dry, brittle brush has accumulated at Bent Rail Park. She added that she’s observed campfires in that area. Sergeant Chris Rees said both the Sheriff’s Department and CAL FIRE should be notified.

Mark Juarez, owner of the California Theater, announced that the theater is hosting a railroad film night on Friday, July 17. Doors will be at 6 p.m., and the movie starts at 7.