Councilor & Public Relations
CORVALLIS CITY COUNCIL 101
2015-16 Council Goals
The Council will continue to manage a long-term sustainable budget including the consideration of possible new or expanded revenue sources. An inventory of known infrastructure and unmet program needs, including public safety, will be compiled and prioritized by December of 2015. By September 2015, possible new or expanded revenue sources will be identified that could fund these program and infrastructure needs. By September 2016 the Council will create and begin implementing a long-term revenue plan. Email the Sustainable Budget Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city will analyze policy and programmatic tools suggested by the 2014 ECONorthwest Housing Policy Options Study, including funding/resource requirements, and by December 2016, select and implement strategies to facilitate creation of additional transitional, low-income, and workforce housing. In addition, the City will develop strategies to sustain or increase service levels in order to continue the programs currently in place to build and maintain affordable housing. Email the Housing Development Task Force at email@example.com.
The City will develop a comprehensive strategy utilizing institutional partnerships (e.g. OSU, Samaritan Health Services (SHS)), government entities, and community groups, to (1) increase access to family wage jobs, (2) strengthen the path from innovation to manufacturing, (3) identify methods of encouraging the success of locally owned businesses, and (4) improve Corvallis as an economically resilient community. Modify the Economic Development Office role and the Economic Development Advisory Board’s charge by December 2015 to implement this goal.
By the end of 2016, the city will have a renewed relationship with Oregon State University (OSU), including the following:
*Implement a new intergovernmental agreement by July 2015 in order to identify opportunities and implement solutions to problems.
*Monitor, mitigate and reduce negative community impacts related to OSU development including implementing land use strategies and/or contractual arrangements as appropriate.
*Review and update all assumptions and policies as appropriate in the Corvallis Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code (LDC) relating to OSU development and the OSU District Plan by December 2016. Include strategies to monitor the OSU District Plan and the LDC to assure compliance and enable modification as conditions change.
Over the next two years, take bold action to address climate change by (1) supporting the energy conservation efforts of the Corvallis Georgetown University Energy Prize team, and (2) adopting and beginning to implement a comprehensive, long-term climate action plan that will significantly reduce Corvallis’ greenhouse gas emissions and foster Corvallis’ resilience to the effects of climate change. Email the Climate Action Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vision and Action Plan for Corvallis
Using an engaged community process, create a new Corvallis Vision and Action Plan 2040 by December 2016. The resulting plan will include an aspirational vision, an action plan for the City and community partners that is achievable and measureable using a livability index, and a method for regular evaluation and necessary revision. The vision and action plan will be the foundation for necessary work on other City plans. Email the Vision and Action Plan Steering Committee email@example.com.
Councilors also are the public official for their respective wards; if there are any issues or areas of concern, your ward Councilor is your point of contact. In September 2014 City Council adopted these ‘Guiding Principles for Public Engagement”:
Collaborative Decision Making - Enhance and support community-driven democracy in city government. Ensure that all participants listen and attempt to understand different viewpoints.
Diversity – Seek input from all viewpoints, backgrounds, and philosophies. Treat each person with dignity, fairness, and respect.
Openness and Respect - Promote fair, open and respectful processes that allow all who are interested or affected to have an equal opportunity to participate.
Inclusiveness - Create a variety of ways for community members to participate and influence decisions.Accountability - Use decision-making processes that are transparent and that create decisions that can be tracked with clearly defined responsibilities
City Council meetings are the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month at 6:30pm in Council Chambers: upstairs of the Downtown Firestation, 400 NW Harrison. The meeting agenda is set forth by the Mayor and City Staff, planned in 3 month increments, and is distilled on a weekly basis taking consideration to current events, topics and issues.
No meeting is the same. Some meetings can go until midnight because the topics are controversial; other times attendees get to be audience to unique public comments, like the recent vocal stylings of the Ragin’ Grannies singing their support for the Standing Rock Sioux nation as they protest the North Dakota Pipeline. Meetings will include public hearings on a variety of issues; making budget and property-related decisions; listening to citizens; discussing master plans; appointing or approving appointments to the City's advisory Boards and Commissions; reviewing recommendations from Boards and Commissions; reviewing and updating the Land Development Code and the Comprehensive Plan; scheduling elections; and adopting legislation.
Public Hearings are a part of the City Council normal meeting agenda. Public Hearings address everything from Land Use, Capital Improvements, Budget, Master Plans and other relevant issues. It is important to know that Land Use hearings are either legislative or quasi-judicial. The difference being that Legislative hearings will adopt, amend or rescind a current law and are basically cut and dry and public comment is very much encouraged; Quasi-judicial are more like a court trial, where the Councilors act as judges basing decisions on the City’s Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plans. The quasi-judicial requirement requires Coucilors from discussing the topic at hand with citizens; “ex-parte contacts.”
It is common for Planning Commission appeals based on quasi-judicial decisions to come to Council, in a process called City Council de Novo. This is comparable to when witnesses testify in a traditional courtroom. Participation in City Council de Novo hearings is open to the public, unless 10 registered voters file appeal against a Planning Commission decision; in this case only the people who participate in the Planning Commission hearing may bring appeal to Council.
Special Meetings & Work Sessions
Mayor Traber will call forth a Special Meeting on time-sensitive agenda items such as public hearings that need extended time and deliberation. Work Sessions occur on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays in order to wrap up the prior night’s agenda and move on to the next. Work Sessions are open to the public, but are much more informal than a regular meeting and community comments are accepted during work sessions.
Executive Sessions are not open to the public; however, media representatives may attend but any information during an Executive Session cannot be printed or used as basis for news material. Executive Sessions are generally held to discuss or receive information on sensitive city matters such as: public investments, property transactions, labor negotiations, employment issues with public officers, disciplinary hearings, and other matters of negotiation. Decisions are not made during these sessions, as any ruling must be made during a regularly schedule Council meeting.
Council meetings give citizens the opportunity to address City Council about items on the agenda or virtually anything that they would like the Council to address. Upon arrival there is an available clipboard to sign up for community comment. Every speaker is allotted three minutes for their presentation unless Mayor Traber grants extra time. There is a timer-box with green, yellow and red lights; the yellow light will come on when there is one-minute left. For more controversial issues, it is common for people to cede their 3 minutes to another speaker; which extends time for that speaker’s comments. According to guidelines: “Community members may cede their time to another speaker; there is a box for you to complete on the testimony roster. Please be aware that you must be present to cede your time to another speaker.” For example, If John wants to give Jane his minutes, Jane would have 6 minutes. The names of all speakers, or those who give their time to another are recorded in Council minutes.
***If you have any materials for the Council to view, make sure you make 15 copies to distribute to the Mayor, Councilors and City Staff.
***A tip from the City Recorder, Carla Holzworth, is for speakers to furnish a printed copy of their comments or speech and then submit it to her after speaking. She will add the copy of your comment to the Meeting Minutes and Packet the following morning, which becomes available as public record online.
There are also several other ways to submit public comment to Council, you can:
Fill out the online comment form here
Email Mayor and City Council
Facebook: City of Corvallis
Mail in any written comments/materials to:
501 SW Madison Ave.
Corvallis, OR 97339
CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS 101
Corvallis City Councilor Ward 3
**IF YOU ARE VIEWING THE MOBILE SITE SWITCH YOUR SETTINGS TO DESKTOP VIEW
The City of Corvallis is comprised of 9 wards (much like voting districts) which are divided equally by population size, contingent on census data. Each ward is represented by one Councilor, whom is both nominated and elected by their ward. Council terms are 2-year-terms, which begin on odd years; for example, the current Council term began January 2015 and ends December 31, 2016; the upcoming term will begin January 2017.
The City Council is Corvallis’s legislative body responsible for: establishing policy, developing the city’s overall vision/planning, sustainable budget, passing/amending city ordinances, city land use/development, and advisory boards/taskforces/commissions. Corvallis is structured as a Council-Manager form of government, which means that in a hierarchal model (as noticed in the diagram), the City Council is the principal governing body and responsible for appointing three integral lead city staff members: The City Manager, City Attorney, and Municipal Judge. The City Manager under this government model acts much like the “CEO” for the city, and is responsible for hiring all city departmental staff and overseeing administrative functions of the city.
The Mayor, who is currently Mr. Biff Traber, is elected by the city’s voters every 4 years. Under the Council-Manager model and per Corvallis’s charter, the Mayor’s responsibilities to City Council are to be the Chair of the Council; approve all records of Council proceedings and ordinances; appoint committees/boards & their respective members; and “endorse all bonds of officers of the City.” As the City Council Chair, the Mayor facilitates Council meetings by “determining the order of business, preserving order, enforcing Council rules and calling special meetings if necessary.” The Mayor also can vote in a Council matter only in the strict occasion of a tie. The Mayor also holds veto-power on Council decisions (for example if there was a 5-4 vote on a very controversial issue, etc); however, this power can be overturned by a 2/3 Council vote (6 of 9 Councilors).
 City of Corvallis website http://www.corvallisoregon.gov/index.aspx?page=78&recordid=4
CORVALLIS CITY COUNCIL AND YOU
City Councilors meet twice each month: for City Council meetings and subsequent work sessions. City Council meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month (if a month has more than 4 Mondays, that week is considered “a week off” from the meeting agenda). If a Monday lands on a holiday, the meetings are pushed to the following day. Council work sessions are held the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, and are open to the public. The work sessions are used as a time for Councilors to close any lingering topics from the prior night’s meeting and have a fresh start to go over the next meeting’s agenda.
Councilors are also members of the Sustainable Budget Task Force, which includes the task of appropriating the city’s budget accordingly and looking towards alternative forms of revenue for the city. Councilors also serve as liaisons to advisory boards and task forces, and at the beginning of each Council term are tasked with creating council goals. Some council goals are inherent to city function, and continue through multiple Council terms.