Seaside Signal

As the City of Gearhart moved to fill the gap by reinstating a fence ordinance, the council acted to adopt the 2015-16 budget at its monthly meeting Wednesday, June 3.

Total resources in the general fund are 1.468 million, about a 2 percent rise from the 2014-15 budget. The amount covers $466,819 for the police department; $358,622 for the fire department; $114,519 for the parks department and $260,577 for administrative expenses, among other appropriations. A last minute allocation added $1,000 to the nonprofit Astoria-based shelter, The Harbor.

There were no comments from the public prior to the budget vote.

The city council also took action by voting to impose taxes for the city’s road district budget, appropriating $99,100 for the general maintenance, repair and construction of roads and bridges.

Members of the council also voted to fix the compensation for the city attorney, chief of police, fire chief, auditor, treasure and judge, and to extend workers compensation to volunteeers of the fire department, Planning Commission, CERT team and other organizations. The coverage amount is set at $1,600.

At the meeting, Mayor Dianne Widdop read a letter from Julie Soderberg, Executive Director of The Harbor, which provides funding for those seeking services after experience sexual assault.

“During this past year, Harbor staff has worked with 32 local teens who have been raped,” Ms. Soderberg wrote the council. “Services to this population includes one on one meetings with a sexual assault advocate, confidential support groups, family meetings for the parents and assistance obtaining and when necessary, paying for a licensed therapist.”

The Harbor was seeking $2,000 from the council to help meet costs of the organization’s services.

Before the budget vote, councilor Kerry Smith urged the board to consider a donation to the group, and after discussion, the council agreed to provide $1,000 to the Harbor.

Other groups that receive funds from the city include Seaside Hall, South County, Food, Partners for Seniors, the Seaside Youth Center, Clatsop County Court Advocate Program and others. Funds for The Harbor were transferred from the fire station-building maintenance fund, which saw a reduction in its reserve from $7,000 to $6,000.

In addition to budget matters, the council endorsed two ordinances, the city filled a gap and adopted a fence ordinance.

After repealing its existing fence ordinance at its May 6 meeting, the City of Gearhart declined to adopt a new ordinance at that meeting. The repealed ordinance regulated fences, which were located within yards and not allowed to exceed 6 feet in height.

After a unanimous vote to repeal the ordinance, the City Council then considered an ordinance which included elements of the previous code, as well as a second section that declared that all existing fences that do not comply with the fence provisions herein would be grandfathered.

Councilor John Duncan was the lone dissenting vote on the board, who said at a previous meeting that the international building code would suffice, and a town fence ordinance was not necessary.

The fence ordinance contains provisions that fences within yards will not exceed 6 feet, and fences within “clear vision” areas shall not exceed 2 1/2 feet. Fences shall not consist of barbed wire or other dangerous materials.

The Gearhart Planning Commission postponed its June 11 meeting, and will now meet Thursday, July 9. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 1.


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