During a Bend City Council discussion on dredging Mirror Pond, Councilor Bill Moseley unveiled a potential resolution that would hand off much of the project’s responsibility to the Bend Park & Recreation District.
“This is a park; it’s not the city’s responsibility to do this,” Moseley said. “We want to be a good partner; we’re willing to (give) a very small financial commitment.”
Moseley’s proposed resolution, which he presented to the City Council at its Wednesday night work session, stated that because Mirror Pond is primarily used as a recreational facility, the Bend park district should handle policymaking associated with the pond so the city can focus its staff and money on other issues. The proposed resolution would have the city support an intergovernmental agreement between the park district and the city if the park district oversees, manages and administers any potential project.
The city would also be willing to support potential dredging financially, but only up to about $1.9 million, in Moseley’s proposal.
Councilors Bruce Abernethy and Chris Piper agreed with Moseley that the park district should take the lead on any future Mirror Pond project. But Abernethy said he is willing to have the city have more involvement than Moseley suggested.
“The city should be more of a player and funding partner … but I agree this is something the city doesn’t want to own and manage,” Abernethy said.
Abernethy said he would also be interested in having an independent group gather public input on how to handle Mirror Pond.
Mayor Sally Russell indicated she would be more willing to have the city take a central role in Mirror Pond’s future.
“I do see this as a community issue,” she said. “There are times where we, as a city, take care of parts of our community, and this is one of them.”
Russell agreed with Abernethy that an independent group, or the Central Oregon Governmental Council, should foster a community conversation about dredging Mirror Pond.
However, Barb Campbell said she was skeptical of any survey unless it just had one simple question: “Do you want to use your own public funds to dredge the pond, yes or no?”
Although Campbell agreed the city shouldn’t be in charge of dredging Mirror Pond, she suggested giving voters the option of an operating levy to fund dredging.
“You find out if they want to do it, and you get the money for it in the same vote,” she said.
Dredging Mirror Pond is expected to cost $6.7 million. In December, the city, the Bend Park & Recreation District and Pacific Power pledged $300,000 apiece toward dredging, joining the $300,000 pledged by private donors and reducing the remaining cost to $5.5 million.
In March, the City Council voted 4-3 to reject a proposal to raise that $5.5 million through a 1.5 percent increase to the franchise fee charged to Pacific Power, which owns the dam that created the pond.
The council agreed that Moseley and fellow Councilor Gena Goodman-Campbell will work with city staff to incorporate Wednesday’s discussion into a new version of the Mirror Pond dredging resolution. That resolution will be presented to the council at a future work session before being decided upon at an official meeting, according to city spokesperson Anne Aurand.
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