HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council grab bag: Feral cats, natural gas etc.

Written March 23rd, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The city council and others lined up for a group photo Wednesday at Monteith Riverpark, where construction has started on the Albany’s Waterfront Project.

Feral cats, the right to use natural gas, and the fact that Albany does not collect the transient lodging tax from bed-and-breakfasts… What do these topics have to do with each other?

Nothing, except that members of the Albany City Council brought each of them up during an otherwise routine meeting Wednesday night.

Council members conclude each meeting by taking turns bringing up whatever is on their minds. Often these are things that voters have asked them to bring up.

On Wednesday, Councilwoman Jackie Montague asked about a report the council was supposed to get about the downtown “enhanced enforcement zone,” which allows people convicted of repeat offenses there to be banned from the area for up to a year.

There has been no such report since the council last dealt with this issue in the spring of 2021. City Attorney Sean Kidd told the council Wednesday the exclusion zone is not being enforced.

The council passed the law in 2018. It was used only once, in September that year against a 64-year-old man who was banned from the zone for three months. In 2021 the council was asked to repeal the zone, but it didn’t.

Montague also wanted to know whether Republic Services, the trash and recycling company, had started a low-income assistance program as promised last year. She was told the program is still being worked on.

Councilman Ray Kopczynski asked if the city collects the 9 percent transient lodging tax from operators of bed-and-breakfast establishments. The answer was no. Albany doesn’t have a program to collect the tax because without a business license program the city doesn’t know who or where those businesses are.

Councilwoman Ramycia McGhee suggested the city look into a policy of dealing with feral cats. The Albany council wrestled with that issue about 15 years ago but then decided the cat problem — too many cats in some neighborhoods — was beyond its capacity to solve.

Councilwoman Matilda Novak wants the city to pass an ordinance guaranteeing that people retain the right to use natural gas for heating and cooking, and to fight the state government if it attempts to ban its use. Some of her constituents have been worried since Eugene in February became the first Oregon city to ban natural gas in newly built homes.

The council did not take action or discuss these issues at any length. Maybe it will do so later.

These “business from the council” items show one thing: If you bring a concern to the member from your ward, chances are good they’ll bring it up to the council as a whole. (hh)





15 responses to “Council grab bag: Feral cats, natural gas etc.”

  1. Bill Kapaun says:

    “Councilman Ray Kopczynski asked if the city collects the 9 percent transient lodging tax”

    Ray never saw a tax he didn’t like. Why not toss in a “franchise fee”, better known as a SALES TAX, on top of it?

  2. Anony Mouse says:

    A bed & breakfast tax? Cool.

    Albany desperately wants to be like other Oregon cities, so here are a few additional taxes that can be copied:

    1. Supportive Housing Services Income Tax (Portland)

    2. Preschool for All Income Tax (Portland)

    3. Community Safety Payroll Tax (Eugene)

    4. Food and Beverage Tax (Ashland)

    5. Transit Tax – Payroll and Self-Employment (Wilsonville)

    These would increase revenues and be consistent with the city’s tax and spend on anything philosophy.

    And leverage the city attorney to find a way to keep these from being referred to voters. Call them fees if you have to. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    Ray’s desire for a new tax is a step in the right direction. The new council needs to follow his lead.

    • Dala Rouse says:

      Last time I looked at my payroll check there was a state wide transit tax. Maybe it isn’t everywhere but I worked in Corvallis.

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Shhss!!! Don’t give them any ideas.

      Just wait for the pain of higher and higher city utility bills. What is it …this summer?

  3. Kathi Johnson says:

    ‘Key’ word MAYBE brought up as a whole to the council…

  4. WW&WW says:

    Throughout the course of Albany’s history there has never been a council as diverse as the present one. Including the mayor, two of the seven are black, five of the seven are women (that’s 71%–a passing score in the schools), and one is Jewish. All but one have declared their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. This is all great and I’m for it, of course.

    As a member of a socioeconomically disadvantaged group myself, I hoped the shift towards equity and diversity that occurred on the city council with the recent city election would produce a council intent on creating a safe and livable community–a hub of race, religion, orientation, and gender, but also jobs, transportation, business, education, art, and culture. A place, in short, where everyone is safe to live.

    Jackie’s inquiry confirms my suspicion that the opposite has occurred and that members of the council intend to use their privilege to create an inhospitable, homogeneous, white-washed, 2-dimensional downtown. Those who will be banished from the downtown will come not from the majority but rather a small minority that either A) disagree with the status quo put forth by the council or B) simply find themselves in the way of “progress.”

  5. Hartman says:

    Along the lines of the then-mayor of New York City, Rudy Guiliani, who gained national reputation for prosecuting small crimes, like overly-aggressive car window washers, or other annoying Street People offenses. We today read in Hasso’s screed that apparently Albany has abandoned the Giuliani Approach. Hasso writes, “City Attorney Sean Kidd told the council Wednesday the exclusion zone is not being enforced.” By the way, Guiliani has abandoned his previous stance on Petty Crime enforcement and is now reduced to performing Monkey-Like, ridiculous paid-for appearances on the Cameo website.

    The Right’s calling card on crime is derived from the Guiliani School wherein if a society allows small, petty crimes to go unpunished, then it is a simple slippery slope that encourages more serious offenses. Hence, when we read the City Attorney’s thoughts: that a duly-passed Albany statute passed under the auspices of then Mayor Konopa has now been sidelined. Well…John Birch is rolling over in his grave.

    Oh…I forgot to mention that the 2018 Albany Edict was about a gnat’s hair away from being declared unconstitutional for easily understandable reasons. Perhaps this is why City Attorney Kidd is no longer enforcing this abomination.

    Don’t confuse our Fearless Leaders by muddying-up the waters. Instead, wrestle with the Feral Cats issue every 15-years or so.

    • centrist says:

      FYI
      John Birch had no connection to the “Society ” that carries his name.

      • Hartman says:

        Society founder, Jack Welch, didn’t name his group The John Birch Society because John Birch was a woke tree-hugger.

        • Al Nyman says:

          Jack Welch built GE into an economic powerhouse and his successor, Jeffrey Immelt, Obama’s favorite businessman, who chaired his economic council destroyed the conmpany. I think you are talking about Robert Welch! And for your information, John Birch was a WWII military hero who was killed by the Chi Coms after the war.
          You really need to use Google because you could use the help to make intelligent postings to this fine site.

  6. Zach says:

    Eugene citizens just finished a referendum petition to force a public vote on this gas wars farce….meanwhile fake(warming)news mainstream media bimbos refuse to say a word about that…Greta might cry lol…facing a public vote this folly will go up in flames

    • hj.anony1 says:

      Funded by NW Natural. LOL

      Just another example of a fox in the ‘ol henhouse.

      • Abe Cee says:

        Well sure…Pacific Power and Portland General are just salivating at the idea of no natural gas.

  7. Nachodaddy says:

    i don’t know what they do with feral cats but when i catch a “free range” cat looking at my koi pond you get pick fluffy up at the county animal control so make sure they are chipped and contact info is on collar

 

 
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