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Monmouth Considers Economic Development Group

Commission would advise city hall

MONMOUTH -- The Monmouth City Council will decide July 6 whether or not to establish a new commission that will be charged with guiding the city's economic policies.

The council will vote on an ordinance to create an Economic Development Commission, a permanent version of the Economic Development Task Force formed by the mayor last fall to to find ways to improve Monmouth's business climate.

City Manager Jeff Hecksel unveiled the guidelines for the proposed advisory body at a council work session June 17.

The commission's primary duties would be making recommendations to city council on economic policies and activities, doing periodic reviews of the city's existing development plans, and analyzing proposed uses for real estate.

The commission would have the ability to oversee the completion of city council-approved projects, but couldn't greenlight them without the city's consent, Hecksel said.

The commission would be comprised of seven members -- selected by the mayor -- and must either reside in Monmouth or work for an employer located within the city limits.

Members would serve four-year terms, though for the inaugural term beginning Aug. 1 this year, three would serve until 2006, and the remaining commissioners until 2008.

The city officials, Western Oregon University representatives and local business people on the mayor's original task force are likely candidates to be on the commission.

After six months of research, the group recommended in May that the city consider creating an urban renewal district as a way to stimulate development and beautification in the downtown core area.

If the commission is formed, its first task would be to study the viability of such a district in Monmouth.

Other issues discussed at the June 17 council work session:

♦ City officials will be holding six neighborhood meetings during July and August regarding a new civic center to replace city hall. Locations and times have not yet been determined.

Hecksel said the city will be seeking public opinion on possibly placing a bond levy on the November ballot to build a new structure. Preliminary costs of such a project total roughly $3.9 million.

♦ City Council and the Monmouth Planning Commission will hold a joint public hearing at 7 p.m. on July 7 at Volunteer Hall on a proposal to reduce the allowable number of unrelated tenants in homes in areas designated single-family neighborhoods from five to three.

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