Department reports review city’s progress in variety of areas

Sean C. Morgan

Department reports created by the City of Sweet Home, filled with details about its activities last year, are available online.

Sweet Home Public Library

At the Public Library, patrons accessed the Internet 7,597 times, in activities ranging from test proctoring for students taking online courses to providing a way for people to fill out job applications.

The Friends of the Library gave $10,000 to the library from the organization’s sales at its community bookstore, and the Summer Reading program helped 210 children and 30 teens read over the summer.

Promoting early literacy and kindergarten readiness, the library offered 37 story times attended by 882 children and parents during the year.

The library circulated 45,680 items in 2015 in 1,768 hours. Its collection included 42,241 print materials and 3,439 DVDs, CDs and other media.

Throughout the year, the library and Oak Heights staff collaborated to provide reading programs at the school and joint training for library and school staff on weeding collections and repairing books.

Eagle Scout Jacob Redfern planted shrubs and installed lighting in the library’s flowerbeds, and the library continued its collaboration with Linn Libraries of Oregon, developing policies and procedures for sharing resources and beta testing a courier service.

The Sweet Home Community Foundation provided a grant to purchase an Early Literacy Computer preloaded with software geared to younger users, between ages 2 and 8.

“We had a mother relate a story about her daughter,” said Director Rose Peda in the report. “She had been using the AWE computer the day before. The next day, the mother asked if (her daughter) needed help tying her shoelaces. (The daughter) said, ‘No, I learned how to do it at the library.’”

Executive Department

This is the first year the city manager’s department has created an annual report.

In it, City Manager Craig Martin described his activity in economic development.

“The city manager’s office has assumed primary responsibility for city-supported economic development activities since the loss of the jointly funded economic development director position in 2013,” he said. Current activities include participation in the visit Linn Tourism Promotion Committee, Sweet Home Active Revitalization Effort, the South Santiam All Lands Collaborative and more.

His office coordinated about 650 volunteer hours in support of Sweet Home beautification projects, Martin said.

The Beautification Committee currently takes care of 10 project areas, including Main Street median strips.

In human resources, the city had 13 staffing changes, including retirements and employees moving among departments; and the average length of service of all employees within the city is 10.28 years.

The city had a staffing level of 60.05 full-time equivalent employees, up from 59.02 in 2014. They worked 98,202.46 hours, with an attendance rate of 83 percent. They had no time lost for work-related injuries.

The City Council adopted 12 ordinances and 25 resolutions.

Finance Department

On Dec. 31, the city employed 67 people, 52 of them full-time. Six were part-time. Seven were city councilors. One was a municipal court judge, and one was the city attorney. The city issued 76 W2 forms for current and past employees.

The city issued 2,023 accounts payable checks in 2015, up from 1,877 but spent $4.8 million, down from $5.2 million. It issued 69 payroll checks and 1,120 direct deposit payments to pay employees.

Municipal Court

The Municipal Court, part of the Finance Department, held 12 trials in 2015, down from 14 in 2014 and up from two in 2013. In 2011, the court held 40 trials.

The court suspended 118 licenses, down from 170 in 2014, for a variety of reasons, including not showing up on a traffic citation to noncompliance with a court order or not making minimum payments on fines. In 2011, the court suspended 365 licenses.

The court issued 671 warrants in 2015, up from 580 in 2014, for failure to appear as ordered or failure to comply with a sentence or payment agreement.

That number has steadily increased since 2011 when the court issued just 138 warrants.

“The number of warrants continues to increase as defendants who are cited defy court orders and continuously not show up for court,” said Finance Director Pat Gray in the report.

The number of offenses filed into the Sweet Home Municipal Court decreased from 948 in 2014 to 917 in 2015. Of those, 485 were violations in 2015, down from 538 in 2014. 432 were misdemeanors, up from 412 in 2014.

In 2011, 1,387 offenses, including 416 misdemeanors and 971 violations, were filed in Sweet Home Municipal Court.

That number doesn’t reflect all of the court’s activity, due to diversions, active warrants, no-shows and set-overs.

In 2015, the court processed 1,123 offenses, including 699 violations and 424 misdemeanors. In 2014, it processed 1,049 offenses, including 626 violations and 423 misdemeanors. In 2011, it processed 1,545 offenses, including 1,067 violations and 478 misdemeanors.

At the end of 2015, the court had 1,413 citations pending for processing, down from 1,619 at the end of 2014.

The court had $1.16 million in accounts receivable at the beginning of 2015, up from $1.22 million. The court imposed $422,000 in fines and fees, up from $414,000. It collected $133,000, up from $123,000 and turned $181,000 over to collections, down from $354,000.

At the end of 2015, it had $1.27 million in accounts receivable, down from $1.16 million.

Public Works

The city issued 384 building permits worth $7.81 million. It processed 82 Public Works permits.

Public Works provide 272 labor hours at civic events, such as the Oregon Jamboree and parades. Of that, 129 supported beautification efforts.

The Water Treatment Plant produced 388.4 million gallons of water. The Wastewater Treatment Plant processed 442.2 million gallons of waste.

Planning

The city approved seven conditional use permits, one variance and one subdivision.

The subdivision was Lake Pointe Estates, 19 lots off Riggs Hill Road and overlooking Foster Lake.

Conditional use permits applied to three accessory structures, an expansion for Harvest Christian Center, the change of use for a house from commercial to residential and a new primary structure, changing an existing primary structure to an accessory structure.

The variance was for a street-side setback. Another variance, to allow a single-wide manufactured home, was denied, and another was withdrawn before reaching the Planning Commission.

City staff approved a partition to create two lots and three property line adjustments.

Staff also issued five RV permits, allowing occupancy in an RV for up to 60 days.

The city amended the fence ordinance and issued 25 fence permits.

It also vacated two sections of right-of-way.

The city’s new Adopt-A-Park program resulted in the donation of 328 hours by 74 volunteers in city parks.

The Tree Commission dedicated 80 hours to tree-related activities, assessing trees and planting 19 trees in 11 locations, 10 downtown and one in the Foster area.

The New Era reported on the Police Department’s annual report on Jan. 10.

Each of the city’s annual reports may be found in the “document center” on the city’s website: sweet-home.or.us/DocumentCenter/.

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