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Dallas Council Oks Downtown Paving Project

DALLAS -- A downtown paving project, the official oath of office and rate increases were all approved at the Dallas City Council meeting on Monday, April 4.

DALLAS -- A downtown paving project, the official oath of office and rate increases were all approved at the Dallas City Council meeting on Monday, April 4.

The council approved a cooperative agreement between the city and the Oregon Department of Transportation to pave Southeast Jefferson Street. The cost of the project, which will pave the travel lanes of the downtown street, is $120,000. The city will pay half, although the state, not the city, is responsible for maintenance of Jefferson.

"This is a state highway," said Council President Wes Scroggin. "Why doesn't the state just do it?"

Public Works Director Fred Braun said the street isn't scheduled for an upgrade for several years.

"It's so far out that it would be a mess before they got to it," Braun said.

The project would overlay the portion of Jefferson from Academy Street to Washington Street and includes a small part of Washington.

After months of debate and revision, the council approved an ordinance that designates wording for two alternatives for the oath of office, one including the city's charter and ordinances and one swearing to uphold just the United States and Oregon state constitutions.

Councilor Mark McDonald, who believes the ordinance violates the city charter and is therefore illegal, voiced his objections again Monday night.

"I move that we postpone this ordinance indefinitely," he said.

His motion was not seconded and the council approved the ordinance by majority vote.

The council also approved resolutions for rate increases for water and sewer. Council members approved two resolutions to tie rate increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Salem/Portland area. The CPI tracks changes in the cost of food, energy, commodities and services.

According to a staff report, in years where the CPI is negative or zero, rates would not change and a rate increase exceeding 3 percent would need council approval. Based on the CPI, sewer rates will increase 72 cents and for water, the increase will be 28 cents, effective June 1.

In other business, the council directed city staff to request a deferral on paying the city's remaining balance of unpaid PERS benefits to Dallas Aquatic Center employees until the 2011-12 fiscal year.

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