ONTARIO — Short two of its regular members, the Ontario City Council quickly clicked through the agenda for its first regular meeting of the month on Tuesday night.
At the top of the meeting, Mayor Riley Hill and Councilor Sam Baker had to recuse themselves for conflicts of interest regarding separate agenda items that related to them. The first of these was for two separate applications from Greystone Builders, owned by Hill, for the city’s housing incentive program. The second was for a bid award for Baker Auction Company, owned by Baker and his family, to conduct an auction on surplus vehicles.
Housing Incentive Program
The Council approved three applications as recommended by the Business Loan Committee for the city’s housing incentive program for $10,000 each, payable from the city’s Business Loan Fund. The money will be paid back to the fund through the city portion of the property taxes collected on the property and dwelling.
The first of these was for Yana Jasso who wants to put a new two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom and two-car garage home at 680 N.W. First St.
The second application was from Greystone Builders to put a new two-story dwelling with two bathrooms and a three-car garage at 1565 Skookum Drive (lot 3 of the Harrah Heights Subdivision). The third application, also from Greystone Builders for lot 19 in the same subdivision with an address of 1554 Skookum Drive, includes a plan to build a new home with a similar footprint.
Councilor John Kirby said that the reason the applications from Greystone Builders were in the consent agenda is because those incentive applications usually just fly through “because we want to get more houses built in Ontario.”
“But it just so happens, the business owner who applied is the mayor, so I wanted this publicly disclosed and out in the consent agenda,” Kirby said.
Councilor Eddie Melendrez, who sits on the Business Loan Committee, said he had a question when it came up in that meeting as far as the perception of the city giving a loan to the mayor. Melendrez said that Community Development Director Dan Cummings explained to him the mayor can still apply, as he is eligible just like anyone else.
After Baker had recused himself so the remaining members of the council could talk about auctioning off surplus vehicles owned by the city, Hill suggested they declare the vehicles as surplus first. A motion followed by John Kirby which was seconded by Ken Hart.
During discussion, Public Works Director Al Cablay stated that the list that council members had would need to be reconciled with the auction service before the sale, as some of the vehicles had been traded in or disposed of but not sold. He also told them about another piece of equipment no longer used for backflow certifications that would be added to the list.
Melendrez asked how the city determined who to use for its auction services and Hill explained that it was advertised to the general public so they had a chance to bid to conduct the auction.
Motions to declare the vehicles surplus and subsequently to utilize Baker Auction to auction them off passed unanimously. However, Kirby stated for the record before the vote on awarding the bid that Baker and his family owned the auction service.