Hermiston Passes Supplemental Budget

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Everyone faces unanticipated expenses during the course of a year and the city of Hermiston is no exception.

“Budgets are a moving target,” Hermiston Finance Director Amy Palmer said during Monday night’s city council meeting. “Some things you can estimate very well, other things are very fluid.”

In Hermiston’s case, a number of expenses came up during the current fiscal year that were not anticipated when the original budget was adopted. In order to approve expenditures not originally placed in the budget, the Hermiston City Council adopted a supplemental budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Those expenditures include a $350,000 contribution to Pioneer Dupont for its research center expansions; $100,000 to the Hermiston School District for the Kennison Field renovation project; $80,0000 for improvements to soccer fields at Rocky Heights Elementary School; $70,000 for the Oxford Trail Project; $50,000 for roof replacement at the Hermiston Conference Center; $100,000 for the addition of a part-time code enforcement officer as well as to cover financial impacts of the new police union contract; and $55,000 for a consultant for the proposed Urban Renewal District.

The last time Hermiston needed to pass a supplemental budget was 2011.

The budget was initially passed 7-0, but Councilor Doug Primmer changed his vote to an abstention after fellow Councilor George Anderson suggested his participation in the vote could be a conflict of interest. Primmer’s wife is an employee of the Hermiston Police Department.

Primmer initially voted for the budget, indicating City Attorney Gary Luisi assured him his vote was not a conflict.

“That’s not the opinion of the Oregon Ethics Commission,” Anderson said.

In other city news, the council voted to create a three-person subcommittee to create mobile vendor regulations. The city’s earlier attempts to regulate mobile vendors bogged down when council members saw that any regulation affecting mobile food vendors could also impact temporary vendors such as nonprofit fireworks stands or Saturday Market vendors.

“You start out on these trips and it sounds like you know where you’re going,” Anderson said. “Then you find this path you’re on is not a good path. I felt like we were passing a law with unintentional consequences. I don’t see any reason to have a rush to judgment.”

Added Council President Rod Hardin, “We do need to take our time and do it right.”

The city also tabled a request by the owner of Maverick’s restaurant to hold an outdoor musical event from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. on June 1. Approval is needed because the event would violate the city’s “Excessive Noise” provision of the city code.

Council members tabled the request until its next meeting and asked that written consent from neighboring businesses be provided before the council would consider approving the event.