News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City snapshot — water, finance, and festivals

• Robinson & Owen Heavy Construction, LLC, secured a public improvement contract in the amount of $73,496.36 for the 2021 Locust-Cedar alley waterline replacement project. The project is part of the 2017 Water Capital Facilities Plan to upgrade old undersized lines within the distribution system.

The project entails replacement of four four-inch steel lines, believed to have been installed around the 1940s, with new six-inch C900 PVC lines in alleys south of Washington and Jefferson between Cedar and Locust.

The project also includes the replacement of the existing affected service lines with new three-quarter-inch copper lines with lead-free brass fittings. The project will begin late February and take about 90 days to complete. Property owners will be notified prior to start of construction.

• Councilor Jennifer Letz will replace Mayor Michael Preedin in representing Sisters on the regional Economic Development for Central Oregon board, which meets every other month.

• The Sisters Country Economic Development committee is making plans for a Made in Sisters event the third weekend in May. Featured would be products produced in Sisters. Stay tuned for developments.

• City Finance Manager Joe O’Neill reported that City auditors gave the City a big thumbs up when they completed their annual audit. They reported no significant deficiencies were found and no material weakness in the City’s accounting system. They gave clean audit opinions on all segments. They said they kept looking but found nothing that needed to be changed.

The City also completed a Comprehensive Financial Report, although they are not required to do so. Having one puts the City in good stead for such things as acquiring loans and seeking grants. That extra work has earned O’Neill and the City awards for excellent financial practices.

• The City started the fiscal year 2020/21 with $13.3 million in cash, with 60 percent ($7.2 million) restricted for future uses. The City currently has money for seven months of expenditures in the general fund balance. General practice calls for two-to-three months of expenditures set aside.

• Lt. Chad Davis, officer in charge of the Sisters substation for the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, gave his monthly report at the Council workshop last week. He reported that most likely the officers will be wearing body cameras beginning sometime in the next year. The residents of Sisters have expressed their appreciation for the officers’ presence in town.

• The Sisters Folk Festival board applied to the City for a change of date for the long-standing citywide event, from the second weekend in September to the first weekend in October, when the danger of smoke from wildfires is less, but beautiful fall weather is still a possibility (see related story).

The Festival was canceled in 2017 because of heavy smoke and again in 2020 because of COVID-19.

They had planned to hold a socially distanced Close to Home 2 concert over the normal Festival weekend in 2020.

That event also had to be canceled due to wildfire smoke – the second time in four years.

Luckily, they had cancellation insurance in 2020.

The Festival has been informed by their insurance agent that Lloyd’s of London will likely not be insuring any event in the Western U.S. during fire season months because of recent losses.

• The City is considering having the Creekside Campground open, with camp hosts on site, through mid-October to accommodate the change of date for the Sisters Folk Festival to the first weekend in October. As always, the campground will remain open with no reservations and with no camp host the last two weeks of October. The campground closes for the year on October 31.


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