LONG BEACH — Who says summer is for relaxing?
At its Aug. 5 meeting, Long Beach City Council moved forward on numerous city projects. Topics covered included the Long Beach Volunteer Fire Department, code enforcement, long-term rentals, and the city's regional biosolids plant.
The council's next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Aug. 19. The public is welcome to attend the meeting at Long Beach City Hall, 115 Bolstad Avenue.
Councilors approved an ordinance which allows the city to propose a bond on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. The proposed eight-year bond would fund a new fire truck for the Long Beach Volunteer Fire Department.
Property owners would receive an estimated annual increase of $28 to $69 for city fees.
"It's less than a cup of coffee a day," said City Administrator David Glasson.
The department's newest vehicle is from 2012, and is one of three department fire trucks. If passed, the department would be replacing its oldest fire truck, the 1978 Seagraves.
The Seagraves is a stick-shift and often requires part replacements, Glasson said at the council's July 15 meeting.
Purchasing a new fire truck with equipment would cost about $560,000. The bond is necessary for funding because the department's annual budget is about $130,000.
The department tries to buy a new fire truck every 10 years, but has been buying new trucks about every 20 years, Glasson said.
"This is the year the firefighters decided to see if they can get a new truck," Glasson said. "It's a big investment but it'll last many years."
Glasson suggested the new fire truck could last 40 years.
The bond proposal will likely cost the city less than $5,000 to add it to the ballot, Glasson said.
During a workshop, councilors agreed the city should be more flexible on what fencing materials are allowed.
"I think we need to change the rules so anyone can put up any kind of fencing, as long as it's not over six feet," said Councilor Del Murry. "I have no problem with lattice, chicken wire, any of that."
Councilors Tina McGuire, Steven Linhart and Holli Kemmer suggested some limits should still exist for fencing. Suggested limits included not allowing rope or lattice to be used as fencing. Kemmer also suggested the city require property owners to use one consistent type of fencing.
Glasson and Community Development Director Ariel Smith warned against the possibility of residents being upset over the change in policy.
"It's a slap in the face to people who weren't allowed to do what they wanted before," Glasson said.
Councilors approved two change orders for work on the city's regional biosolids plant. The change orders amount to $95,404.
"This is almost $100,000 in change orders," Kemmer said.
One of the change orders was necessary for construction to start because there was too much preload material at the job site.
"This change order was expected to happen," Glasson said.
The second change order covers manufacturer requirements for the biosolids plant. The building had to be extended with additional concrete ramps, walls and compost tunnels. In addition, the old lab building had to be demolished.
"I don't like coming up here for change orders but these are things that really needed to be changed," Glasson said.
The city should expect one more change order, Glasson said. It'll cover costs for a fire hydrant.
Culbertson Park: The city accepted a $23,342 bid from Beynon to resurface the tennis and basketball courts at Culbertson Park. Pickleball lines will also be added to the park. The city will pay for the project with grant money it was awarded earlier this year.
Long-term rentals: Councilors also agreed long-term rental owners shouldn't be required to have business licenses like short-term vacation rental owners.
"To me, they should have a business license too. They're a businessperson just like other people," said Mayor Jerry Phillips.
Linhart questioned Phillips on whether he could name other cities who require business licenses for long-term rental owners. He couldn't name any in the moment.
"It's only $10 extra a month, but they're going to jack up the rent," Linhart said.
Former councilor Natalie Hanson suggested the city limit the number of vacation rentals allowed on a street, or troubleshoot how to handle issues residents have been having with absentee property owners.
"If the property doesn't have owners, you run into issues like garbage on the street and being thrown everywhere," Hanson said.
The city's current code only requires long-term rental owners to pay the city $20 annually, Phillips said.
Fireworks: Councilors agreed the city shouldn't be involved with Fourth of July fireworks in 2020, and should instead give the Long Beach Merchants Association the opportunity to run the show.
"Like I voted the first time, and I'll stick with that, we should not be involved," McGuire said. "If they choose to do it and if they have the money to do it, we should show them how to do it and help them know what to do."
Glasson suggested the merchants may not be able to pay for the insurance needed for put the show on. It's too early to tell whether the show will happen or not.
Stormwater: Councilors approved a $26,750 bid award for Lindstrom and Son Construction, which will fix a drain pipe in need or replacing. The pipe will need to be removed and replaced because a sinkhole recently developed nearby.
Asbestos: Councilors approved a $12,236 bid from 3Kings to handle asbestos at 1315 Pacific Avenue South. The building is one the city has worked on long-term for code enforcement issues. The city's plan is to demolish the building. The money will come from the city's code enforcement budget, which has plenty of room to fund the project, Glasson said.
Rod Run parking: Councilors approved a request from property owner Pamela Boeh and Stan Griffith to host paid parking on Boeh's lot off 5th Street. Griffith also requested to run a food truck, which the council denied.
Griffith's parking lot will operate from Sept. 4 to 9. The lot will include port-o-potties for patrons.
Manufactured homes: Councilors also agreed to raise the minimum age of manufactured homes from three to five years.
World's End Public House: Councilors agreed a loading zone shouldn't be approved for the World's End Public House, located off Bolstad and Pacific Avenue. The business is in the same building as another business and a handful of apartments.
If allowed, the loading zone would likely impact parking and beach traffic.
"We haven't done it before so we'd have to allow that for everyone," Phillips said.