Sunday, November 29, 2009

City Manager Selection; Airport Public Records Act Request, and Etc.


- City Manager Selection

- Airport Public Records Act Request (Photos Added 11/30/09)

- Rudyard Kipling Quote


City Manager Selection

Word has it that the two finalists for the City Manager job may appear in a special meeting of the City Council on this coming Tuesday, December 1, 2009. I haven't seen any notice of this on the Baker City website, so, please don't rely on my word for it. Just a heads up. I was given this information over a week ago by a Councilor, and things may have changed since then.

My understanding was that one or both finalists may appear, and that there is a good chance the selection will be made at the meeting if background checks have been completed.

The two finalists are Tim Johnson and Clarence Hulse.

Baker City Municipal Airport

Airport Public Records Act Request

On November 23, 2009, I sent in a Public Records Act request to Baker City (Jennifer Watkins and Tim Collins). This request springs from the fact that the city, according to the most recent budget, is spending $85,288 from the general fund on the airport. I simply think that I, and the Baker City taxpayers, need to be clear about where the money is going, who the beneficiaries are, and just how much money the airport is bringing in from those who use it. (That is, "Who benefits--Who pays?)

Here us a text of the request:

November 23, 2009

Christopher Christie
1985 15th Street
Baker City, OR 97814

Mrs. Jennifer Watkins
City of Baker City
PO Box 650, 1655 First Street
Baker City, OR 97814

Public Information Act Request - Baker City Municipal Airport Information

Dear Mrs. Watkins,

Pursuant to the Oregon open records law, ORS 192.410 to 192.505, I write to request the following information:

1) The annual amounts of money spent by the City of Baker City for each of the last five years to support the Baker City Municipal Airport.

2) The annual amounts of money spent by other publicly funded governmental entities for each of the last five years to support the Baker City Municipal Airport.

3) The total annual operating expenses of the Baker City Municipal Airport for each of the last 5 years.

4) The lease rates for each hangar and other building as well as the total annual amount realized by the City for all leases.

5) The annual total number of flights for each of the following: private flights, publicly operated flights, and flights related to the public health and safety (Medically oriented, law enforcement, fire, or otherwise clearly related to public safety and disasters), for each of the last five years.

6) The names of all individuals who have leased hangar space, tie-downs on a monthly basis, or other buildings on land owned by the City of Baker City during the last four months (July 23 to November 23, 2009.

If your agency does not maintain these public records, please let me know who does and include the proper custodian's name and address.

I request a waiver of fees because the information requested will be used to inform the public and is in their interest to know how their airport is used. If an electronic copy is available in Word.doc or other common format, I would prefer to receive the documents as e-mail attachments, however, I agree to pay any reasonable copying and postage fees of not more than $10.00. I am willing to come to City or airport offices and extract the information from existing records to save on costs, but as this is information the City should be interested in so as to protect the public's interest, I'm assuming it will be readily available. If the cost would be greater than $10.00, please notify me. Please provide a receipt indicating the charges for each document.

If you choose to deny my request, please provide a written explanation for the denial including a reference to the specific statutory exemption(s) upon which you rely. If some of these records are disclosable and others are exempt, please provide the disclosable records and let me know the exemption(s) preventing disclosure of the rest.

Please understand that I seek these records for the purposes of public interest, public disclosure, and transparency in governmental operations. I hope that the spirit of openness in Oregon government will prevail.

Thank you for your assistance.


Christopher Christie

Here is the response from Mrs. Watkins (Typos are mine, not Jennifer's):

City of Baker City, Oregon

P.O. Box 650
Baker City, OR 97814-0650
541-523-6541 Voice/TDD
541-524-2049 FAX

November 25, 2009

Mr. Christopher Christie
1985 15th Street
Baker City, OR 97814

Dear Mr. Christie:

Thank you for your recent public records request received on November 23, 2009. The City of Baker City has in place a system for how these requests are processed. This letter will outline the process to get us started.

Baker City follows the Oregon Public Records Law, which indicates that we can only provide those documents that are in existence at the time of the request. In other words, no new records need to be made, in order to satisfy a records request. It also states that we have a "reasonable" amount of time to provide the information, based on how much time it may take to conduct a search. Finally, it allows organizations to charge a fee for the time it takes to collect the data and any copy charges incurred.

Some of the information is readily available. I will attempt to answer those questions here. Others may require additional work and some clarification as to exactly what you are seeking. For anything that we need to research, we will estimate the amount of time and calculate a fee accordingly.

Questions 1, 2 and 3 will take approximately one (l) hour to pull together.

Question 4: the lease rate we currently charge is $0.12 per square foot for private use and $0.16 per square foot for commercial use. We still have a few lease contracts under the previous rate of$0.10 per square foot. However, those leases are nearing termination and will be raised to the current rate as adopted by Council in Resolution No. 3593. The total revenue expected from ground leases and hangar rent in the 2009-2010 fiscal year is $16,000.

Question 5: these records are not kept by the City. The Fixed Base Operator does keep track of the number of flights, but most likely not the category (public, private, medical, etc.).

Question 6: I need some clarification from you on this item. Would you like a list of any new leases during the four-month time frame, or a list on any leases that were in place during that time frame? If it's the former, we didn't execute any new leases between July 23 and November 23. lf it's the latter, it will take us approximately one (1) hour to put that information together for you.

In summary, it appears that the request could take up to two hours to complete, depending on the information you need. Resolution No. 3593 sets the public records search fee at $26.00 per hour, plus $0.25 per copy. Should you wish to proceed, please deposit your check of $52.00 (or $26.00, if you do not need any more information on Question 6). Any copy charges will be computed and due in full upon retrieval of the

If the above items take less time than anticipated, you will be provided with a refund for the remaining time. If we find that it will take more than two hours, you will be contacted for permission to continue.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact me at 524-2032. We appreciate that this is important to you, and will do our best to meet your needs.


Jennifer G. Watkins
Assistant City Manager/City Recorder
Cc: Tim Collins, City Manager Pro-Tem


Anybody got 50 bucks? ( I would have thought this information would be readily available if the city was looking over their operations.) Stay tuned. . . .
Cessna 172 Skyhawk Practicing Takeoff and Landing At Airport (corrected caption, 12/2/09)

Rudyard Kipling Quote:

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man [or woman] is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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