The Dalles City Council had a long and productive meeting last night.
Among other items, councilors appointed Daniel Hunter as interim city manager, following the retirement of former city manager Julie Krueger and prior to the new city manager Matthew Klebes taking office on May 16.
Councilors approved an amendment to the contract for engineering services on the Dog River Pipeline. They voted to add $1,599,552 for the engineering firm that’s designing to project to conduct daily inspections over the construction that is expected to take two years to complete. Construction bids for the project will be open May 5 and presented for council approval on May 23.
The also approved an $80,612.24 cent contract for crack sealing on 16 miles of city streets.
Councilors also passed resolutions assessing property owners for cleanup of a nuisance situation and adjusting employee requirements for the Powder Pure Enterprise Zone tax rebate, which has just one more year to run.
But the big item of the night was the approval of a formula for distributing community service fees from the next two Google expansions in The Dalles. The agreement took several months to negotiate with all the taxing districts, but finally came down to a decision to distribute the fees proportionately among all the taxing districts in which the Google development sites are located. This is on top of the taxes Google will be paying. Unlike the earlier enterprise zone agreements, the company will not defer all taxes on improvements for 15 years, but will begin paying a significant portion of those taxes after construction.
Councilor Dan Richardson cited the decision as having significant impact for the community, and added:
“In my opinion, perhaps the single most important thing we could fund as a community as a greater good project is a new high school, and it’s my personal opinion that this agreement would go a long way toward doing that.”
Since these funds are fees, rather than taxes, they will remain in the community, and not be swept into the state’s general school fund for redistribution. And Mayor Rich Mays added:
“I just want to point out that through our efforts, District 21 is going to be getting probably a conservative estimate of $500,000 a year out of this.”
Also, this year marks the end of the first 15-year Google enterprise zone agreement, and the first complex will go fully on the tax rolls this fall. How much of a bill the company will receive in October will depend on how the state evaluates the value of the complex.