Dispatchers from the John Day 911 Emergency Communication Center were recognized for the 30 years of service they provided as a department of the city during the city council's Jan. 8 meeting.

Dispatch Manager Valerie Maynard accepted the award. The transition from the city-based dispatch to the Grant County Emergency Communications Agency is complete, and Maynard is now the dispatch manager for the new organization.

The new agency continues to operate at the John Day City Hall location while remodeling work continues at the agency’s new location in the John Day Fire Hall.

According to the plaque accepted by Maynard, the dispatchers were recognized “for handling each emergency with uncompromised competence and integrity, for being the steady voice in a storm, for using courage and compassion, and for providing such a meaningful service to the citizens of Grant County.”

In other city council news:

• Councilors Paul C. Smith and Shannon Adair were sworn in. Councilor Gregg Haberly and Mayor Ron Lundbom were absent and will be sworn in at a later time.

Councilor Brandon Smith, who also was absent, was appointed council president. He will replace Steve Schuette, who has served a long time as council president.

• A request from Heart of Grant County to waive system development charges for the nonprofit group’s new office and shelter was tabled after Councilor Dave Holland noted that the proposed site once had homes connected to city water and sewer. The site was likely grandfathered in and not required to pay system development charges, he said.

A report on the city’s system development charges fund by Anna Bass of the Solutions accounting firm in John Day was postponed.

• The council unanimously approved two resolutions relating to funds used to complete the John Day Fire Hall.

The first approved a 10-year $306,345 interfund loan from the city’s water fund to its general fund at 3.34 percent interest.

The second approved a 20-year $168,976 loan from the city to the John Day Rural Fire Protection District at 1.5 percent interest to cover the district’s share of the tenant improvements at the fire hall.

The city council agreed in April 2018 to pay off the $62,000 promissory note on the land for the fire hall and borrow $300,000 to complete construction of the fire hall using financing from Washington Federal.

City Manager Nick Green said the rural fire district board approved the loan and financial arrangement. Cost overruns for construction of the fire hall were blamed on unexpected requirements by the state.

• The city council will review an audit report on Jan. 22 and present its annual public safety report on Feb. 12. The city’s Urban Renewal Agency, which oversees the new home and remodeling rebate program, will meet on Feb. 26.

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at rick@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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