News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

City snapshot — volunteers named to commissions

•?Mayor Michael Preedin has appointed volunteer members to City boards and commissions. Preedin encouraged those not selected this time to apply for other positions as their talents are needed. City Recorder Kerry Prosser, who organized the interviews, said there were double the number of applicants needed for the positions, a great improvement from several years ago when not enough people were volunteering.

Those named and their terms include:

Eric Benton, one-year term on the Public Works Advisory Board; Molly Bauman, Emily Curtis, Asa Sarver, and Sarah McDougall to three-year terms on the City Parks Advisory Board; Rebecca Green, a three-year term on the Urban Forestry Board; and Alex Powell, three-year term on the Budget Committee.

•?Lt. Chad Davis of the Sisters office of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) informed City Council of the new Operation Guardian Angel program that has been instituted as a partnership of the DCSO and Ideal Options. Citizens with substance abuse problems can get immediate referral to a clinic for same day/next day intake. The program is aimed at diverting people who possess illicit substances for personal use into treatment. Transportation can be provided by DCSO officers if needed. The program will also work with the new stabilization center in Bend when needed.

•?Council voted December 8 to convert the Laird Superfood Inc. forgivable loan to a grant. By creating 17 and maintaining a total of 30 new jobs between April 5, 2016, and September 30, 2021, Laird Superfood has met all conditions of the City of Sisters Forgivable Loan Program. They now have a total of 151 employees, mostly in Central Oregon. As a result, the loan made by the City of Sisters to Laird Superfood in the amount of $51,000, has been converted to a grant that does not require repayment.

The Forgivable Loan Program was created as a means to strengthen the City of Sisters’ economic outlook and to increase available employment opportunities within the community.

•?With the departure of Caprielle Lewis from her position as the full-time Economic Development for Central Oregon representative in Sisters, the City and EDCO have created an amended memorandum of understanding regarding EDCO services to Sisters.

The program has focused on a multi-faceted economic development strategy aimed at growing the base of locally operated traded-sector businesses that provide a diverse range of family wage jobs.

The City wished to alter the program to no longer have a local full-time program manager.

However, the City desires local economic development services be delivered on a partial or part-time basis.

EDCO is willing to continue to administer the program and provide those services from its regional office and headquarters, in a similar manner as it had prior to creation of the local program.

•?City Councilors approved Ordinance 520, amending Sisters Municipal Code chapter 5.10, concerning the regulation of public events in the city, to amend provisions concerning timing and contents of permit applications, and to make other amendments concerning temporary structures, road closures, and suspension or revocation of public event permits.

•?Resolution 2021-21of the City of Sisters was approved by the Council on December 8, amending several items in the Master Fee Schedule for public events, Public Works fees, Sisters overnight park, and SDC rates.

•?Council voted unanimously to approve amending the pay plan classification for the City of Sisters employees. A 1.5 percent pay increase had already been approved. When the Social Security cost of living increase was announced at 5.7 percent and the Consumer Price Index increased by 6.3 percent, the decision was made to make an increased adjustment of 4.6 percent to bring the employees’ pay increase to 6.1 percent.

City Manager Cory Misley told the Council, “Our staff is a lean, mean fighting machine and the City needs to do our part for our employees.” The adjustment will cost the City an additional $24,000.

Some offsetting factors that made the adjustment possible included the fact that the Workman’s Compensation insurance premium came in at $12,000, when a $16,000 premium had been expected. The lower premium is mainly due to the safety record of the City of Sisters Public Works crew.


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