The Edmond City Council will be considering a broad range of issues beginning at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the City Council Chambers, 20 S. Littler Ave. Council members will consider who will fill the Ward 2 council seat. Updates to the Edmond Plan, water and wastewater rate increases, and whether to declare the Highland Ridge Apartments a public nuisance will all be under consideration.
WARD 2 CITY COUNCIL
A vacancy in Ward 2 occurred when then-Ward 2 City Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner was chosen to fill the mayoral vacancy following the December death of Mayor Charles Lamb. Because the Ward 2 seat is now vacant, the board must appoint someone to serve through the end of the election. The primary election for mayor is set for Feb. 12 followed by the general election on April 2.
The council has asked for names from individuals living in Ward 2 who are interested in filling the post. Those interested submitted their resumes by Jan. 2 to the office of City Manager. The city has received nine applicants to fill the Ward 2 Vacancy, said Casey Moore, city spokesman. The list includes James P. Boggs, Mitch Harris, Tony L. Leddy, M. Sherrick McCray, Jim R. Miller, Mark A. Nash, Brandon S. Nichols, Ted Streuli, and Bob Turner.
Waner asked that the Ward 2 vacancy be appointed by Jan. 14 with that person being sworn-in to the Ward 2 city council seat on Jan. 28.
Meanwhile, Lamb’s name will stay on the ballot even though he is deceased, according to the Oklahoma County Election Board. The ballot includes the names of former Mayor Dan O’Neil, Richard Prawdzienski, and the late Charles Lamb. The top two vote getters in the primary election will proceed to the general election, Murdock said.
If the name of Charles Lamb is one of the top two winners at the primary election — it will also be on the general election ballot. If Lamb’s name gets the majority of the votes resulting from the general election, the Edmond City Council will appoint someone to fill the mayoral vacancy, Murdock said.
WATER AND WASTE WATER RATES
A long-term rate plan for water and waste water will be presented to the city council to consider approving. In November the latest results of a study was provided by the city’s consultant, Dan Jackson, vice president of Willdan Financial Services. The council will consider the rate change Monday night.
The average utility across the United States has been increasing its rates by five to six percent a year because costs are going up, Jackson said.
“These issues are not at all unique to the City of Edmond,” City Manager Larry Stevens said. “… other utilities are looking at the same types of issues with the same large expansions of capital.”
Water is a business, he added. The American Water Works Association stated that water rates will triple across the U.S. during the next 15 years.
“When the costs go up you have no choice but to pass those rates through to your ultimate rate payer,” Jackson said, while noting the over all inflation rate is 3 percent every year.
Chemicals, electricity, gasoline, insurance, workers compensation increase water rates even greater than inflation, Jackson said. Millions of dollars are needed to construct a water system with pipes, water towers and treatment plants. A sustained investment is needed to maintain clean water availability, Jackson said.
Being financially healthy will allow the city to undertake the magnitude of capital programs it is doing, he said.
He commended the city’s water and waste water fund for being in excellent financial condition. The city has historically set rates at an acceptable level to capture revenues, Jackson said. Edmond stays ahead of the curve.
EDMOND PLAN UPDATE
An analysis of land uses in Edmond which is used as a planning tool to help provide planning commission and city council members a tool to determine where future needs are will go before the city council Monday night for a final approval.
But some residents believe it is an incomplete document, and portrays neighborhoods which are between 30-50 years old in a negative way.
Edmond Neighborhood Alliance member Lydia Lee said the plan needs to encourage preservation of existing neighborhoods and not merely focus on transitioning or redeveloping. Commissioner Mark Hoose said the plan will make it easier for the city to identify areas suitable for change.
The Planning Commission this week recommended the The Edmond Plan 2018 by a vote of 3-0. The comprehensive Edmond Plan update began the process of analyzing current land use patterns in 2016. Actions and recommendations were made for the commission to use in future years. The Edmond Plan does not change zoning, said Ken Bryan of the planning department.
“The item on the City Council agenda for Monday night is a Public Hearing and Consideration of an Ordinance to adopt the update to the Edmond Plan. (Item 10(E)a.) This Ordinance is the same format we have used in the past for adopting the change to the Edmond Plan,” said Steve Murdock, city attorney. “We have never codified the Edmond Plan, which means we have not assigned it a specific Title or Chapter, but it has always been adopted by Ordinance which is what is on the agenda for Monday night.”
The comprehensive plan is a working document that applies only when there is a proposed change in the environment such as a proposed development, Bryan said. It is also useful when the city council makes capital improvement decisions and budgetary priorities, he added.
The comprehensive plan distinguishes neighborhoods to align and prioritize future policies based on character.
Neighborhood types are referenced as mid-century neighborhoods or suburban neighborhoods. Mid-century neighborhoods tend to be 30-50 years old, and are more accessible for walking and bicycling with greater connectivity than suburban neighborhoods, Bryan said.
HIGHLAND RIDGE APARTMENTS
In December the Edmond City Council recently extended a deadline until Jan. 14 for the Highland Ridge Apartments before declaring it dilapidated, uninhabitable, unsafe, unsanitary and a public nuisance. The vote was 5-0 for the complex located at 1300 E. Ayers.
The deadline is intended to make the property safe with repairs and bring the property up to code.
Murdock said the city staff has been working through numerous complaints to the property since 2014. Citations have been issued regarding the property by code enforcement and the Edmond Fire Department, Murdock said, adding that the Oklahoma City/County Health Department has also issued violations against this apartment.
The Edmond Fire Department has a significant punch list of items at the apartment that need to be corrected, said attorney Todd McKinnis, representing the Highland Ridge Apartments. This delay will give the complex a chance for a renewed inspection, he said. McKinnis also said an independent manager will be responsible for handling the apartment complex issues during this time.
Waner said the council will need to see a strong showing on Jan. 14 that a lot has been done to resolve the code violations.