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Pendleton city manager makes second request for downtown association funding

Urban renewal district funding would pick up first payment in new plan

East Oregonian

Published on April 13, 2018 7:22PM

Two weeks after the Pendleton City Council declined to put it to a vote, City Manager Robb Corbett is coming back to the council with another proposal to permanently fund the Pendleton Downtown Association.

The council will consider Corbett and the association’s latest proposal at meeting Tuesday.

According to a staff report written by Corbett, the city would pay the association $55,000 for operational expenses for the first two years before decreasing its contribution by 10 percent annually in years three through five. Starting in year six, the city’s contribution would be set at $25,000.

The payout to the association is similar to the association’s last proposal, but how the city pays for it is different.

Rather than splitting the cost between the city’s general fund and the urban renewal district, the latest proposal would have the urban renewal district paying the entire $55,000 in Year 1. The second year would be split 72-27 between the urban renewal district and the general fund, the latter’s contribution offset by a reduction in the transfer of business license fees taken out of the fund to pay for economic development.

As the city’s contribution drops from $50,000 in year 3 to $40,000 in year 5, the urban renewal portion will drop by $10,000 each year as the business license fee portion rises by $5,000.

From year 6 and beyond, the business license fees will pay for the entirety of the city’s $25,000 contribution.

Despite Corbett’s backing at the April 3 council meeting, council members raised enough concerns over the general fund and a lack of financial support from the association that Mayor John Turner didn’t even put it to a vote.

Corbett wrote in his report that city staff, representatives from the Pendleton Downtown Association and councilors Scott Fairley and Dale Primmer met after the previous meeting and negotiated the current proposal, which the group believed had enough support to pass the council.

Acting as the Pendleton Development Commission, the council narrowly approved funding the association’s operational expenses in 2017, but haven’t taken any action since then. Molly Turner, the association’s executive director, has said the nonprofit organization will run out of money by early next year if it doesn’t get more financial support.

The council will also meet to discuss preserving riparian land along the Umatilla River and selling its remaining interest in the Round-Up Grounds to the rodeo’s holding company for $13,000.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. at the council chambers in city hall, 500 S.W. Dorion Ave.


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