Council appoints Salvage to Ward 3 seat

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
Jeremy Salvage was sworn in as city councilor to fill Jason Bolen’s vacant Ward 3 seat during the June 10 City Council meeting.
On May 25, the council interviewed six candidates for the position. In addition to Salvage were Lance Caddy, Jeannie Davis, Duston Denver, Ross Dewberry, Gregory Nervino and Paula Newman. Dewberry rescinded his application during the interview process due to the number of qualified candidates.
Following individual interviews, the council gauged stances on applicants, then discussed them for 17 minutes. Denver was a top choice because he ran in 2018 and received 26 percent of the votes behind Councilor Michelle Steinhebel, who won with 55 percent. Davis was also considered because of her community service, and Salvage was liked for his experience and interview answers.
Steinhebel made a point to note Denver’s previous election history, and highlighted the fact that two current councilors had been voted in due to early vacancies. As such, the current process will provide half of the council taking their seats through council selection rather than community vote.
Councilors Gamael Nassar and KJ Ullfers changed their position on candidate choices after hearing Steinhebel discuss Denver, although Steinhebel leaned more toward Davis.
Denver has served on the Planning Commission for several years, while Salvage has more than a decade with the group, serving as its chair the past four years. Mayor Paul Aziz said that kind of experience is helpful when serving on the council.
After narrowing its field to Salvage and Denver, the council tied, so Aziz cast the deciding vote. Though all agreed that three of the contenders would make great councilors, Aziz chose Salvage because of his dedication and work.

Jeremy Salvage

Salvage said he was excited to take this next step to be more involved in the community.
“On the Planning Commission you can make decisions, but they’re pretty restricted and you have a pretty narrow path of reasoning,” he said. “City Council just opens up a whole new world of decision-making and opportunity.”
After the reorganization of alternates and new appointments, two alternate Planning Commission positions will be available, Community Development Director Kelly Hart said. Alternates hold the same authority as a regular position, provide confidence that a quorum can be met and allow more public participation.
Salvage said the person best suited for the commission would want to be involved in the city and learn how government-level decisions are made.
Also at the June 10 meeting, the council approved Ordinance 2982, eliminating Chapter 5.02 Business Registration of the Lebanon Municipal Code that was established in 2010 at the request of the Lebanon Police Department to help it contact business owners. The code was suspended temporarily in 2012 to search for a more efficient process.
In 2021, City Council directed Economic Development Catalyst Alysia Rodgers to determine the city’s business registration program and enforcement’s future. Looking at surrounding communities, she discovered that some cities had discontinued efforts to implement such a program or had retained it on a free, voluntary basis, while others had established programs costing businesses $50-$105 annually.
During the past year, Rodgers has been involved with a coalition of rural and urban cities working with the Secretary of State to obtain business contact information, since the state requires registration. Rodgers had noted in the past that having access to these contacts would’ve been helpful during the pandemic when the city had supplies and resources for its business community.
As such, she recommended the council repeal the current code while staff seeks access to the already established state list. Steinhebel asked Police Chief Frank Stevenson if his department had anything in place to assist it with business-contact needs. He replied that the department was working on a program to connect with that community.
In other business:
♦ Mayor Paul Aziz made a brief announcement that he would no longer make proclamations for the city.
♦ The council held a public hearing for and approved a 3 percent inflationary index Wastewater and Storm Drainage Utility rate increase, effective July 1. Engineering Director Ron Whitlatch explained that the city consults the construction cost index (CCI) every year to keep on top of inflation. The CCI was at 8.5 percent this year, he said, but the agreed-on adjustment seemed to be adequate.
The resolution included modifications to how the rate increases will be implemented. Currently they have been adjusted per individual utility (water, wastewater, drainage). The new method would adjust rates from the entire combined bill, which allows them to be based on regulatory requirements and need for capital projects.
♦ The council held a public hearing for and approved the amendment of the Comprehensive Plan Map and Zoning Map designation for property located at 4070 S. Santiam Hwy. (See Planning Commission story below on this page.)
♦ The council held a public hearing and approved a resolution for the use of state revenue sharing (SRS) regarding funds from beer and wine taxes collected by the state. The City of Lebanon estimated $260,000 from the SRS for the next fiscal year to be placed in the General Fund.
♦ The council held a public hearing for and approved a 2022-23 budget for $87,016,545, and the levying of property taxes at a rate of $5.1364 per $1,000 of assessed value. The approval included two amendments: one for $26,384, awarded in a settlement between Oregon and Johnson & Johnson for use in opioid treatment and prevention; and the other for a $60,000 increase to the General Fund Community Development to allow the city to spend a grant for an environmental analysis.
♦ The Urban Renewal Agency held a public hearing for and approved a 2022-23 budget for $5,483,764, and the levying of property taxes.
♦ The council approved three minor transfers in budget appropriations, and a supplemental budget resulting from increases in construction excise tax revenue. During this time, Nassar thanked the city for its efficient payout of pandemic bonuses to city employees.
♦ City Manager Nancy Brewer announced that filing for the November 8 general election for mayor and council seats will run from July 11 to August 1. Mayor Aziz’s term ends December 31, as do the terms of councilors Rieskamp, Nassar and Steinhebel.
Interested parties are encouraged to contact City Recorder Kim Scheafer at (541) 258-4905, pick up a packet at City Hall, 925 S. Main St., or download it online at ci.lebanon.or.us.