Handing out recognition to some of our worthy backers | Hildreth

While working as an electrician on the old Pay’n Save Drug Stores, I saw a sign hanging over the manager’s office that said, “Catch someone doing something right.” Throughout the week I watched this manager continuously complimenting an employee for taking a little extra time to do their work well, or giving that little extra in customer service. To him, the best thing he could do to inspire great work was to recognize it.

As mayor, this is something I try to do when I see someone who does that little extra.

This month our standout citizen is Arlene Hatten. Some people know her as the lunch lady at Alpac Elementary School or for her work in Pacific Partnerships. This summer she is working part-time with our youth program, always with a smile and always doing that little extra.

For the past five years, she has organized the Pacific Days Parade as well as assisting in other activities during the event.

For our business of the month, I would like to recognize Lydig Construction. From being a sponsor for Pacific Days to its support for our community garden, anytime the company was asked, it not only helped out, but gave that little extra.

Survey says

The City conducted a survey asking about our priorities in setting the governmental budgets. The purpose of this was to make sure that the priorities we set as a government are in line with those of our citizens.

The following is a breakdown of that survey:

• Demographics: The median age of those taking the survey was in their late 40s, are fiscally moderate but want to see value for their tax dollar. They appreciate the small-town values our city offers as well as its proximity to jobs, recreational opportunities and schools.

• Taxes, direction of government: Although 84.9 percent see the overall direction of the city as positive or mixed, nearly 80 percent are concerned about the economic health of our city.

• Budget realignment: Although none of the options given to bring the budget into line gained a clear majority, by far the least popular was to reduce the size of our police department or eliminate road maintenance.

• Priorities: The percentage given is the percentage of that rank (not the number of top priority votes) – police (criminal activity) 71.7 percent; police (traffic) 37.8 percent; roads (potholes, crack sealing) 27.7 percent; parks and trails, 30.4 percent; senior services, 29.5 percent; youth services, 32.6 percent; courts, 45.5 percent.

As was stated before, these figures will be looked at when creating a final budget, but other factors will be used as well. Although citizens taking the survey see the courts as the least important. Without local courts our cost actually would go up. The same goes with our senior and youth services. Cuts made in programs often result in additional cost elsewhere.

Prepare for winter storms

Unlike last year when the general weather patterns predicted a dryer winter, this year is looking to be warmer and wetter. That, by itself, does not mean we might get flooding, but it does mean that everyone should prepare themselves for that possibility.

For the White River to flood it would actually take a combination of events to happen. Back-to-back Pineapple Express-type storms, heavy rains over snowmelt or extremely heavy rains in the mountains and lowlands. Even if it was to flood our city, Pacific is in better shape to protect itself from that flooding.

The HESCO’s and sandbag walls installed last winter are still in place, and we can quickly respond to any potential flooding with additional resources and our plan. This fall we will close off three of the four openings in the HESCO wall in the park and can close the remaining opening (the west entrance to the park) before any flooding occurs. We want to maintain as much access to the park as possible until the last moment.

As was discussed last year, the primary issue we are facing in Pacific’s portion of the White River is a dramatic reduction in capacity. Prior to the 2009 flooding the capacity as the river flowed though our city was over 10,000 CFS (cubic feet per second). This was the level when we would see waters coming over the banks in a few locations, but not where there would be any general impact.

A capacity study finished in September of 2009 showed that January’s flooding had reduced that capacity to just over 5,000 CFS. Since that time, some of that sediment has washed farther down river, but the buildup at the Stewart Road Bridge has been noticed. This could result in a blockage during heavy rains, causing backups in our area.

Long-term projects, such as the levy setbacks on both banks of the river, are still progressing. Other mitigation, such as scalping of gravel bars, has not been as well supported. The city will continue to work diligently to protect the interest of all of our citizens while also being good stewards of the river.

Reach Richard Hildreth at PacificMayor@aol.com.

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