With the start of the new year, the Pendleton City Council has 11 months to convince the voting public to put property tax money toward a capital improvement bond.

The council’s effort will begin in earnest Tuesday when they will vote to finalize a $75,902 contract with the design firm Mackenzie to perform a needs analysis on the city’s fire station.

According to a report from Mackenzie, the needs assessment would “assess the condition of (the) existing facility, determine the required needs for the replacement facility, and develop a concept design and anticipated project budget for the facility in preparation of the future bond measure.”

City officials have long maintained the need to replace the fire station’s aging structure and move it to the downtown area to improve emergency response times.

The city is considering three potential sites, including staying at the station’s current location on 911 S.W. Court Ave.

After the assessment, Pendleton reserves the right to negotiate with Mackenzie on a second phase, which would include schematic design and construction services.

Also to be considered by the council is amending an ordinance that would prorate business license fees for businesses opening after the beginning of the year.

Currently, owners have to pay fees for the entire business year, which runs from Feb. 1 to Jan. 31, regardless of when they open their business.

Because the city would lose $3,400 in fees from amending the ordinance, the council prompted city staff to look into raising temporary business fees vendors pay to operate during Round-Up to cover the deficit.

A city report states the city charges $100 to residents and $160 to out-of-town vendors to operate temporarily during Round-Up week. To cover the deficit caused by the amendment, staff calculated the city would need to raise the out-of-towner fee to $227.

For context, staff is looking into what other rodeo towns charge for temporary business licenses.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.

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