LOSTINE — The Lostine City Council adopted a 2020-21 budget of $513,787 at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 10. This was an increase of $58,997 over the current year’s budget, which expires June 30. The budget was approved after a hearing May 27.
City Recorder Toni Clary said the increases were mostly from about $22,000 added to materials and services in the event of a need to repair broken lines or other items, about $25,000 added to capital outlay since the city is hoping to renovate the front of City Hall and about $7,000 in debt service for the city’s loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state in 2007 for the city water system.
In another matter, Mayor Dusty Tippet read a letter of resignation from Councilman Mitchell Shelton, who served on the council for more than 1½ years. The letter stated that Shelton was resigning immediately because he was having difficulty finding time for family, work and serving on the council.
“That’s what you find in these small towns,” Tippet said. “There are so few people to do the work and then you get overwhelmed.”
The mayor urged people to pass the word of the vacant council position and the council could take nominations at its July meeting.
A successful nominee would serve the remainder of the year and stand for election in November. Clary said she would also add a notice to residents’ water bills. A nominee must have lived within the city limits for at least six months, she said.
Several council members and members of the audience discussed the effect of the COVID-19 restrictions on the city. Since Gov. Kate Brown approved Wallowa County’s move into Phase 2 of the coronavirus restrictions, it was noted that city hall and the city park had been closed, but are now reopened. Businesses, too, are reopening. Danny Wallace, who owns Second-Hand Antiques in Lostine, said his shop is seeing a few customers and they are doing a good job of keeping their distance.
The council also discussed a request by the Lostine Post Office to help find a new location. The post office’s lease expires in August 2021 because the landowner wants use of the building back. Tippet said they had one site selected, but it didn’t work out. A few more are under consideration.
“We’re working on it,” he said.
Clary said there may be vacant lots in town, but they don’t always pan out. “Usually vacant lots in Lostine are vacant for a reason,” she said.
The next council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 1 at City Hall. This month’s meeting was delayed a week because Clary was ill.