Richland will pay to move Laura Hester, the newly hired parks and public facilities director, from Arizona to Richland. She will replace Joe Schiessl who has been promoted to deputy city manager.  The old fire station at 1900 Jadwin is up for grabs. The lack of a quorum for a recent workshop meeting discussion of tax breaks for businesses meant no minutes provided with this week’s agenda and information packet.

At the end of the meetings, council has set aside 60 minutes for a secret executive session to review the performance of a public employee.

A new parks and public facilities director is coming from Sahuarita, Arizona

The Richland City Council will approve $12,000 to move Hester from Sahuartia, Arizona, to Richland. She is leaving her job as director of parks, recreation and community services in Sahuarita, a town of about 34,000, 15 miles south of Tucson. 

Sahuarita’s city website describes their park programs and lists their director position as open with a salary of $98,107 to $147,161.

The website listed Schiessl’s 2020 salary as $159,300.

Old fire station 73

“Staff will provide information to Council regarding former fire station 73 at 1900 Jadwin. The intent of the discussion is to evaluate available surplus and disposal options,”according to the information on page 220 of the packet.

The fire station, which sits on about a half an acre at the corner of Jadwin and McMurray, was replaced by a new, bigger one just down the street on the corner of Jadwin and Stevens. The Boys and Girls Club and the Luther Senior Center have expressed interest in the property.

No minutes for business tax break discussion

The city provided no minutes in the packet for the Oct. 25 council workshop meeting because there was no quorum, only the three women showed up – Councilmembers Sandra Kent, Jhoanna Jones and Theresa Richardson. However, a video is available so you can see the discussion. 

During the workshop, city staff recommended that the council offer property and other tax breaks to a Norwegian green hydrogen company to build a fertilizer plant in the Horn Rapid’s area. The staff said tax breaks would enable Richland to compete with Oregon to get the company.

Staff also outlined three other potential business tax breaks.

Richardson and Jones were all in for the competing for the fertilizer plant, but Kent was skeptical and wanted more details.

The full council would have to approve any proposals in a regular city council meeting.

Other issues on the agenda

Amendments to the 2022 budget as well as a proposed 2023 Budget and 2023 to 2028 Capital Improvement Plan are also on the agenda.

Several library grants will be approved, one for a family reading program and the other to help students find grants and loans to fund their education.

Blah, Blah Blah from the councilmembers and city manager

Then the council will go into a 60-minute, secret executive session, perhaps for the annual review of the city manager.