City manager continues duties despite virus

Eric Buckman

GLADSTONE — Despite having COVID-19, Gladstone City Manager Eric Buckman continued his duties for the city and participated by telephone in the city’s regular commission meeting Monday. During the meeting, the city updated the Downtown Development Authority plan and passed a new ordinance for the city’s housing commission.

“I’ve just been working from home. My computer’s set up that my phone messages come to my computer at home and other than that it’s been pretty much work as normal,” Buckman told the Daily Press Tuesday.

Buckman’s case of the disease has been mild, with symptoms he described as similar to a “bad sinus headache.” He expects to be back at city hall Friday based on the current CDC recommendations that individuals do not return to work until 10 days after symptoms began, but he said he is waiting for doctor approval.

“I went in to get tested last Thursday (Sept. 3) and they took eight days before my results came back. I don’t know, I’ve asked everyone in the healthcare system, I’ve asked people ‘what am I supposed to tell them?’ By the time I got the results back it had almost been 10 days and if people didn’t have symptoms they didn’t have to worry about it,” said Buckman, who noted he believed he had been exposed to the virus while attending a funeral.

Operations at the city haven’t changed significantly due to Buckman’s absence, and he was an active participant in Monday’s meeting, albeit remotely.

Following a public hearing, the city commission approved a payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) ordinance for the Gladstone Housing Commission, in relation to the Water View Apartment complex.

“This is the first stage of this project and it’s the remodeling of the building currently known as ‘Bay View Apartments,’ which is on the east side of the development,” Buckman told the commissioners over the phone Monday.

The new ordinance was needed because the project is being completed through a Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversion. This program — which was not in place when the apartment complex’s last agreement was entered into in 1979 — allows for private contractors to “sponsor” public housing developments rather than forcing housing authorities to work directly with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as had been done in the past.

The ordinance approved Monday codifies an agreement wherein the city will not collect property taxes on the development, but instead will collect 4% of the shelter rent collected by the complex annually for a period of 15 years. This is a drop from the prior annual charge of 10% of shelter rents that had been collected previously, but there is not expected to be any net impact for the city after all agreements for the development have been finalized.

The commission also approved a new ordinance accepting the Downtown Development Authority’s amended plan. The ordinance extends the life of the DDA and adds projects to the list the DDA is authorized to pursue.

“The DDA has certainly done some great things for the city and I like the scope of the projects that are in the new plan. They certainly are ambitious. You have a vision. The vision the DDA has for the city is really appealing,” said Commissioner Greg Stczynski.

In other business Monday, the commission closed out two Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) loans from the city’s revolving loan fund. The loans were used to create new positions at Delfab, Inc. and K&M Industrial, and were legally allowed to be closed because the businesses had met — and in both cases, exceeded — the goal number of positions. Both Delfab and K&M Industrial will continue to make payments until the loans reach maturity.

Commissioners also approved a permit to close a portion of 10th Street for a customer appreciation event on Saturday at Old Glory firearms, which is located in the Rialto building; approved the city collecting penalties when property transfer notifications are not submitted to the city within the legally allotted timeframe; approved changes to the city assessor’s contract; and reappointed Dave Fredrickson and Rudolph Kaminen to the Delta Area Transit Authority board and the Gladstone Housing Commission, respectively.


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