Willamina fills final council seat

WILLAMINA — The Willamina City Council is complete again, thanks to Thursday night’s appointment of Heather Stritzke.

She fills the vacancy created when Laurie Toney resigned for family reasons. The term runs through the end of this year.

Katie Vinson was appointed to the council last month, replacing Ila Skyberg. Skyberg resigned in order to devote more time to her family and family business.

The newest members join Rita Baller, Allan Bramall, Gary Hill Jr. and Jeri St. Onge, who has has been tapped to replace Skyberg as council president.

Stritzke, who has lived in Willamina four years, said she is hoping to bring about positive change in the West Valley community.

“I am willing to dedicate the time and energy that it takes to serve the community,” she said.

There was one other application — former planning commission, library board and city council member Kevin Nortness. He was appointed to a vacancy on the budget committee.

“I can set aside my own priorities to try and make the best decision for the city as a whole,” said Stritzke, a stay-at-home mother who has volunteered her time at nursing homes and homeless shelters.

In other business, the council:

n Approved a request from the Willamina School District to use Tina Miller Park as a site for the summer lunch program.

The district has been providing free noon meals to children 18 and younger since 1997. The meals meet U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition standards.

Expanded to 38 days this year, the program will run June 16 to Aug. 8. Meals will be served from 11 to 11:30 a.m.

n Informed Melissa Swenson, project manager for Portland General Electric’s LED Project, that it would retain ownership of 40 utility poles and transfer ownership of the light fixtures to PGE. The move is expected to save the city $11,100 a year, as PGE will be replacing the bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs.

The other option would have been the transfer of both poles and fixtures to PGE. But that would have wiped out the savings, as the city would have had to compensate PGE for assuming pole maintenance responsibility.

n Approved a three-year agreement with Local 320 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, which represents city workers, effective with the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.

Workers will go without a pay increase in 2014-15, but get a 1 percent increase each of the following two years. One step will be added to the salary schedule on July 1, 2015, and another the following July 1, giving veteran employees more potential for salary growth.

n Accepted a report from City Recorder Sue Hollis lauding Youth Services Librarian Denise Willms for her work in the absence of Head Librarian Melissa Hansen, who has been out for an extended period for health reasons.

The council will meet next at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 12.

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