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ENTERPRISE — Enterprise’s Public Works Director Ronnie Neil announced his retirement after 31 years to the city at the Enterprise City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 8, according to a press release.

The council congratulated Neil on his retirement and thanked him for his decades of service to the city. Neil’s retirement will be effective Dec. 31.

Neil then made a formal recommendation to the council to appoint Shawn Young as the new public works director, which the council agreed to do contingent upon Young’s acceptance of the offer. Young also thanked Neil for the latter’s support of Young during his 20 years with the city.

In another personnel matter, the council voted to appoint Corey Otten to fill the vacant Council Position No. 3. He will be sworn in prior to the January meeting during the work session. He replaces Christie Huston, who resigned earlier this year and now serves as the finance/budget officer for the city. Also up for consideration for the vacant council seat was Shannon Emel.

The council also adopted an ordinance raising the city motel tax rate from 3% to 5%. A previous ordinance had incorrectly listed the rate as 9%.

City staff requested the rate be increased 2% to 5%. Councilor Jeff Yanke asked if his fellow councilors felt it necessary to ask for public comment prior to increasing the rate, but the council decided to move ahead with the ordinance as submitted. The council voted to approve the ordinance increasing the tax rate and directed staff to notify affected businesses and property owners who will be affected.

The tax increase is effective Jan. 1.In other matters, the council:

• Heard a letter read from Enterprise Elementary School regarding Enterprise Police Officer Cody Billman, who is being switched to a new schedule as the police department rotates shifts. City Administrator Lacey McQuead said that in his last shift, he worked in the school every day “and (has) done an amazing job with the students, so the teachers wanted the council to be aware of how much he would be missed.”

• Approved an event permit for Winterfest to close Main Street from River Street to Depot Street. The event is expected to be held Saturday, Dec. 11.

• Heard an update on the Wallowa Mountains Bicycle Club’s plans to set up a bike park in the city. McQuead said she would facilitate a meeting between club members Angela Mart and Zeb Burke, the public works director and the Public Works Committee. At last report, a location for the park had yet to be selected.

• Heard a request from Finance Officer Christie Huston for the council to consolidate the two sewer project loans into one. With the rates presented by all three local banks, Yanke moved to pursue an option made by Community Bank. McQuead will ask Huston to make contact with the banks this week. A resolution will be prepared and presented at the meeting in December.

• Received an update on the National Hazard Mitigation Plan from Fire Chief Paul Karvoski and McQuead. They explained the update to the council and McQuead Lacey provided a copy of it prepared by Katherine Daniel, explaining where to find the link for the updates.

The next council meeting will be Dec. 13.

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