Sanitation rate increase approved

Southern Oregon Sanitation’s rate increase was passed at the Cave Junction City Council meeting May 8.
Councilors Jean Ann Miles and Ethan Lane were present at City Hall, alongside city recorder Rebecca Patton, with Councilor Tina Casey Jones attending via Zoom. Mayor Meadow Martell and Councilor Jesse Dugas were both excused for personal reasons, so Council Chair Miles led the council in the mayor’s stead.
In one of the more divisive moments of the meeting, the council took a look at Resolution 970, which was Southern Oregon Sanitation’s rate increase proposal from the previous month. The councilors were concerned that the 12% rate increase could negatively impact some of Cave Junction’s lower income residents. During discussion, councilors found that they would be in violation of their waste management contract if they voted “no,” on the rate increase, so they ended up unanimously passing the resolution 3-0.
A second resolution was unanimously passed to declare the property at 328 Hamilton Ave. a nuisance. This decision was not made lightly, as the city council had been attempting to work with the property owners to allow them time to build storage structures that were up to code and remove the recreational vehicle that had been on the property for quite some time.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of communication on the part of the property owners and a steady influx of periodic complaints from residents of neighboring properties, the city had no choice but to fine the property owners $1,000 a day retroactively, beginning Jan. 20 when they first made contact.
Director Alex Ponder gave the council a brief update from the Public Works department, informing them that the new pickup and dump truck that had been approved in November will be arriving very soon. The council also approved the bid for the Rockydale well renovation unanimously.
Teresa Stover gave an update on the Library Renovation Project, letting them know that the board is attempting to identify cuts and options that will allow them to stay within the renovation’s available budget. Stover also mentioned that the historic preservation for the premises looks positive overall.

Executive Director Megan Pugh spoke on behalf of the I.V. Chamber of Commerce to announce that the Chamber, along with Travel Oregon, will be conducting a “Lodging Feasibility Study” in the coming months. Pugh expressed that this study will serve to identify things that will lead to an increase in tourism and revenue for the community as a whole.
During their liaison updates, Councilor Lane mentioned that the Illinois Valley Fire District had been awarded some money for the upcoming fire season.
Councilor Jones spoke about the last Parks & Recreation Commission meeting being “very intense and productive,” and said they had discussed the coming Old Stage Park cleanup project that is being spearheaded by Lou Peterson, who hosted the Gambler 500 event earlier this month. Jones remarked that the cleanup seemed like a “fun opportunity” for community members to become involved.
As far as the playground renovation and spray pad at Jubilee Park, all Jones had to say was, “It is happening!” and mentioned increasing the board’s communication efforts with the community regarding this matter overall.
Councilor Miles attended a housing conference in Seaside that served to inform her further about the many needs that often go unmet as far as housing in rural communities goes. Miles also attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the coming KOA campground on Redwood Highway, adding that the owner of the campground was eager to figure out how to contribute to the community further.
The council also reappointed three members of the city’s budget committee – Rick Derringer, Barbara Ford and John Miles.