The Astoria City Council worked its way through a crowded agenda of significant items in less than one hour Monday night.
By a vote of 4-1, councillors rejected a request from Pioneer Spirit Habitat for Humanity for a land donation in the vicinity of Harrison Avenue and 29th Street. Only Councillor Bob Heilman supported the request. The Warrenton-based group would have built two homes on the property. Prior to voting, the council heard from six citizens.
Proposed revision of the downtown curfew languished for lack of support. Police Chief Rob Deu Pree recommended against the change, which was brought to the council by an 17-year-old Astorian, Joshua Pritchard. None of the councillors spoke in favor of Pritchard's proposal, but Mayor Willis Van Dusen acknowledged his considerable and serious effort. Without action to change the curfew, the proposal is effectively dead.
The council voted to support the concept of a unified 9-1-1 emergency call center that would be based at Rilea Armed Forces Training Center. While the item was a perfunctory response to a user group survey, the council's public stance is significant step toward elimination of the Astoria's 9-1-1 center.
Councillors adopted an ordinance changing the distribution and management of the transient room tax. In the new arrangement, one-ninth of the proceeds will be given to the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce for visitor information services, two-ninths will go to the Promote Astoria Fund for the conference center project and six-ninths will be deposited in the city's general fund.
By unanimous vote, councillors adopted a budget for the next fiscal year. That budget included a reduction in funding for the Astoria Aquatic Center. Following this portion of the meeting, Jim Servino voiced his objection to the council's action, suggesting that it will require the Aquatic Center to close on Sundays. Servino is working informally with the city Parks Department to help market the city's indoor swimming facility. "I encourage you to find ways to keep the facility open," he said.
The council adopted fees for wireless communications facility applications. The application fee will be set at $3,000.