Thursday, December 28, 2006
By SUE RYAN
News staff writer
December 13, 2006
The Cascade Locks City Council ended up with a full slate of councilors by the end of its meeting Monday night.
The path to get there took as many twists and turns as a switchback logging road but was a lively democratic process. There were two vacancies on the council created by the recall of Rob Brostoff and Lee Kitchens during the Nov. 7 election. The council appointed Tom Brazille to one vacancy last month.
“Thank you for your trust and responsibility,” said Darrell Driver. “I have always said it is a challenge balancing the democratic process with representative responsibilities.”
His appointment filled the last vacant spot. Councilor Tiffany Pruit again stated that the council ought to wait and let the new council taking office in January make the decision.
But the council forged ahead and nominated in succession Tiffany Pruit, Todd Mohr, and Ken Wittenburg for the position. Each motion either died for lack of a second, was a tied vote, or failed. In the end, the council went with the appointment of Driver by a 4-2 vote. Councilors Cindy Mitchell and Pruit voted against his nomination. Driver did run for a council seat during the election and has been an active participant in past months in the council’s meetings.
In Hood River News coverage in October, Driver stated that he saw the top three issues for the community as responding to challenges of growth, economic development, and greater transparency and interaction of local government with the community.
“I think it’s up to the community to not wait until they get irritated to get involved with government,” Driver said Monday.
Dissension has marked the community for months as sides have split over the sale and development of the McCoy property. That split continued Monday night as the council held a public hearing and then voted to spend some of the money from the property’s sale in July.
“Keep the money intact until we resolve the issue,” said Sandra Kelley.
She was the only person who spoke during the hearing portion although several people referred to the issue during public comments.
The city had borrowed from itself to buy the McCoy property initially. In a separate land deal, the city negotiated an agreement with the county for land for the site of a future fire hall. The city would have begun accruing $1,000 interest a month in January if it didn’t approve paying the county back.
In the end, the council was adopting a supplemental budget to authorize payment of $93,230 to Hood River County for property for a fire hall. The vote also transferred $41,701.68 to the electric portion of the capital reserve fund to repay the loan for purchasing the McCoy property.