Promoting downtown Roseburg and its hundreds of businesses was one thing. But doing that while overseeing parking enforcement and keeping the area clean of trash proved to be too much for the Downtown Roseburg Association, and the City Council took steps to change that Monday.
The council ended the contract with DRA to manage parking downtown, annulling the three-year contract extension that both sides agreed on last June. The city also had an agreement with DRA for garbage services, at $650 a month, but the DRA has stopped providing those services and the city has made other arrangements for them.
The DRA has acknowledged it could not handle all three tasks, and asked the city to be let out of the parking and garbage pick-up duties so it could focus on its primary responsibility — promoting the area through its Main Street program.
“We’re qualified to run the Main Street program. Qualified to run parking programs? Not so much,” Justin Deedon, the treasurer for DRA, said at Monday’s meeting. The “virtual” meeting was held using Zoom, a video conferencing service that allows individuals to meet online remotely as a group.
In May 2016, the council approved the parking program agreement with the DRA, doing business as Park-Smart. In June, the contract was extended three years, with some changes.
Under the parking enforcement contract, the DRA was responsible for patrolling the central business district, city-owned parking lots, on-street metered spaces and the Laurelwood Historic District Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The DRA’s responsibilities included managing parking permits, maintaining and emptying parking meters, issuing citations for violations, handling appeals and appearing in court when necessary.
The contract allowed the DRA to keep all revenues associated with those activities. In turn, the DRA paid the city $3,125 a month for that revenue stream. However, the DRA has said those monies don’t cover the monthly fee, and it owes the city about $18,000 in back payment due.
An analysis of the situation, prepared by city staff, determined the following:
“Downtown Roseburg Association has been struggling financially and has fallen behind on payments to the city required under the current contract. With the current COVID-19 situation and the required closure of many restaurants and businesses downtown, the DRA has taken the step of laying off all staff for the month of April. It has become clear that performing both parking enforcement and a downtown main street program are not compatible or financially feasible for their organization.”
The city pays DRA $22,500 a year for its Main Street program services, which entails promoting downtown Roseburg through a newsletter, website, conferences and events. That program will continue, the City Council decided.
The parking enforcement contract was terminated effective the end of March. City Manager Nikki Messenger and her staff will work out the details of how the DRA will repay the city the money it owes.
The DRA has asked the city to forgive half the roughly $18,000 it owes, and that they pay back the remaining balance over 18 months, with payments starting in six months.
Messenger and city staff have spoken with parking services vendors and other cities to gather information to help determine what a new contract might look like, and with whom. Community Development Director Stuart Cowie said the entire parking program may have to be overhauled before it can be manageable and profitable.
The City Council on Monday also:
- Adopted a resolution supporting the Roseburg Public Schools bond levy, which is scheduled to be on the ballot for the May 19 election. The resolution said the bond levy “will strengthen our City’s emergency preparedness capabilities for students and the Community.”
- Accepted a notification that Messenger and staff spent $67,360 to purchase a new large turf lawnmower. The 2020 Toro Groundmaster 4000D mower replaces a 2013 model that has more than 2,200 hours of use on it, city officials said. Typically, the City Council would have to approve any expenditures over $50,000. But when the council declared a state of emergency on March 23, that allowed staff to make such purchases without prior council approval.
- Accepted a notification that Messenger and staff chose a contractor to replace 22 wheelchair accessible ramps and four driveway approaches downtown on Southeast Lane, Southeast Mosher and Southeast Cass avenues, at a cost of $212,786. Freedom Builders had the low price among the four companies that bid on the work. The contract gives Freedom Builders 70 days to complete the project.
- Appointed Jeffrey Weller and Jerry Smead to the budget committee. Weller is a self-employed accountant. Smead is the director of pharmacy at CHI Mercy Medical Center. There is one more vacancy on the committee remaining to be filled.
- Accepted the resignation of Kerry Atherton from the planning commission. A replacement will be sought.
- Recommended to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission that the liquor license of every business in the city that has one — more than 100 — be renewed. The OLCC has final say on the licenses, which must be renewed annually.