Falls City considers hiring own engineer

FALLS CITY — With a number of infrastructure planning projects underway or impending, Falls City Mayor Terry Ungricht is understandably feeling a little overwhelmed.

The city was awarded funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to replace a bridge washed out in a storm last winter and has a city street paving project coming up. Water and wastewater systems improvements also are needed in the near future.

With no city manager on staff, Ungricht has been taking the lead on completing the work necessary to get the projects ready.

“With all that is going on, especially with this FEMA project, the road project, I’ve identified that we are in desperate need of a city engineer,” he said. “We’re hitting stuff that is a little bit out of my league and I’m going to make sure that it is taken care of.”

Falls City has a contract with the city of Dallas for engineering services, but with both cities working on several projects, Ungricht believes the city needs its own engineer.

At the Falls City City Council meeting Thursday, Ungricht asked for permission to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a firm to serve as “city engineer of record.”

The contract would be similar to what the city has with its attorney. The engineer would be on retainer and only paid for the hours spent working on city projects, Ungricht said.

The council approved issuing the RFP for bids on a unanimous vote.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a 1.8 percent rate increase for garbage pickup and recycling services provided by Republic Services. The city’s contract with the company allows for rate adjustments based on the average increase in regional consumer price indexes.

• Approved submitting a grant to Oregon Department of Parks & Recreation to purchase the property on the south side of the falls on the Little Luckiamute River. The $85,000 grant would allow the city to buy the property and expand Michael Harding Park.

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