As of Thursday, January 19, 2017
CORRECTION: The city of Monmouth does not contract with the city of Independence for its information technology services, said Phyllis Bolman, city recorder for Monmouth. The city of Monmouth contracts with Polk County.
INDEPENDENCE — The Independence City Council took care of business at its Jan. 10 meeting in spite of fresh snow, but postponed the discussion on a new city branding initiative because the consultants worked out of Portland, which was hit worse than the Willamette Valley with ice and snow.
Marilyn Morton was elected council president.
Each councilor chose a committee or board to sit on as council liaison. Councilor Ken Day was appointed to the Monmouth Independence Networks board of directors.
“He’s well prepared,” said Morton, who works for Minet.
Day is on the finance committee for Minet.
Richard King, who was elected in November to serve on the council, did not accept his position because of family issues, Mayor John McArdle said. The council had two options to fill the vacancy: Appoint Michael Hicks, who ran for council and was in the audience on Jan. 10, or go through an application process.
Morton and Day wanted to open it up to an application process, while Tom Takacs, Kathy Martin-Willis and Diana Lindskog wanted to appoint Hicks.
“I move that we appoint Mike Hicks,” Takacs said. “I spoke to him earlier. He’s a pretty reasonable guy. He took the time to go through the election process.”
“I appreciate that, but I know we’ve had an empty council seat for six months, and I don’t think it’s going to make a difference to the democratic process,” Morton said, referring to Councilor Jerry Hoffman being excused from council meetings for the last part of 2016 because of illness.
Day said that while Hicks might make a great candidate, “I think there are other people also who might want the job.”
Hicks ran against Day for Position 5 and garnered 760 votes, coming in second of the three candidates for that seat. Day won the position with 1,207 votes.
The vacant position counted as a “no” vote, city recorder Karin Johnson said, so McArdle broke the tie vote and Hicks was sworn in on Jan. 10 as Independence’s sixth councilor.
As Hicks took his seat at the dais, Morton said, “It’s not based on the person; it’s based on the process.”
In other business:
• The council adopted a voter-approved 3 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana and repealed a 10 percent sales tax on the drug. The 10 percent sales tax was passed in October 2014 in anticipation of voters passing Measure 91 — legalizing recreational marijuana in Oregon.
Under Measure 91, cities would not be able to tax the drug, but the city council passed the 10 percent sales tax in hopes that Independence would be “grandfathered in.” That is, because Independence had a sales tax on the books prior to the legalization of the drug, it would be allowed.
“It was our shot at getting some good money,” City Manager David Clyne said.
The state would not allow it, but did allow cities to ask voters to approve an up-to 3 percent sales tax, which Independence did in November 2016.
• The council heard progress on the information technology department, headed by Jason Kistler, Clyne’s son-in-law.
“We created an official IT department, and one way we hoped to support that activity was to contract out services,” Clyne said.