By Brandon Taylor

Baker City Council met Tuesday for an executive session at 6:15 p.m. in which they discussed labor negotiations, property transaction and evaluated a public employee. The council then met at 7 p.m. for a regular session.

During the regular session, the council approved the AFSCME Labor Contract. The contract has added a 2 percent raise in 2019, a 2.5 percent raise in 2020, and a 2.5 percent raise in 2021. The contract will increase the Health Savings Account in 2021 by $200 per individual and $400 per family. The contract allows the Union to reduce hours for employees rather than perform layoffs if the city lacks funds. The Contract will require that certain employees live within 20 minutes of the city in order to respond to emergencies. The contract allows employees money up front for expenses when they travel on city business.

City Councilor Lynette Perry voted against the AFSCME Labor Contract. When asked why, she would not comment.

The council approved a third reading of a 10-year franchise agreement with PriorityONE Telecommunications Inc for the construction and operation of a telecommunications system in the city. If approved, PriorityONE will agree to pay the city 7 percent of its gross receipts of their business.

The Council approved a 4-year contract with the YMCA to operate the Sam-O Swim Center. The YMCA agreed to cover the cost of janitorial services and supplies and water quality testing supplies. The YMCA executive director will be the head of the Sam-O Swim Center. The city will remain responsible for gas and electricity bills, for all repairs and replacement expenses of all the mechanical equipment located at the pool, for the maintenance of the interior and the exterior of the building. The City will maintain property insurance but will be co-insured with the YMCA for liability insurance.

The Council agreed to establish a handicap accessible parking space outside of the Integrative Physical Therapy at 1928 Court Avenue.

The Council declined the addition of a 15-minute time limited space in front of the Tec Copiers on 2021 Main Street citing that more research was needed.

The Council approved the guidelines for the Silvers Street Tree Fund grant programs for 2019 to 2020. If applicants pay a $25 fee, the Tree Board will approve and cover the costs of planting a tree Downtown. Applications will be accepted by the Baker City Public Works Department from July 15, 2019 to June 12, 2020.

The council approved an agreement between the City and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for a $200,000 grant to renovate the Haskell Building on Main Street, as part of the 2019 Oregon Main Street Revitalization. The grant will replace the roof supports, install skylights and develop venue space and lodging on the second floor of the Haskell Building.

Community Development Director Robin Nudd will work with the property owner, Carol Phillips, to complete the grant requirements including the proposal and the quarterly reports.