Bun house again caters forestry event

The State Forests Advisory Committee used Maggie’s Buns to cater its June 18 meeting in Forest Grove’s Community Auditorium.

The advisory group to the Oregon Department of Forestry used Maggie’s at its March meeting — also in Forest Grove — where 15 of the attendees came down with norovirus. But Washington County public-health officials were unable to confirm Maggie’s food as the source of the highly contagious gastrointestinal infection, despite media-fueled rumors.

“It was never determined that the contamination at the March meeting was tied to Maggie’s,” Rod Nichols of the ODF wrote in an email. “We have complete faith in this vendor and will continue to use it.”

The SFAC — comprised of citizens and representatives of timber, environmental and recreational groups — discussed the implementation of the Northwest Oregon State Forests Management Plan.

Maggie’s Buns earned a 100 percent on its health inspection last week.

Sykes salary passed

The Forest Grove City Council Monday approved City Manager Michael Sykes’ salary for the next fiscal year, awarding him $133,550 for the year, along with a $4,200 annual vehicle allowance to cover city-related travel costs accrued while using his personal car.

The base salary reflects a 2.3 percent raise from last year.

Councilor Elena Uhing, the lone councilor to vote ‘no,’ said she felt the salary and vehicle allowance combined was “above what we have provided to other employees.”

Councilor Richard Kidd, one of the six who voted yes, said the salary was “well within line of comparable salaries for senior executives. He’s worked very hard.”

The vehicle allowance was also comparable to that for city managers in similar-sized cities, Kidd said.

Previously, Sykes had a city vehicle assigned to him. That vehicle will now go back into the city pool.

Refinancing approved

Forest Grove city councilors moved Pacific University’s financing and refinancing request along by approving a bond proposal at its June 24 meeting.

Pacific wants to refinancing its prior debt and finance new debt so it can pay for improvements to the campus. By doing this through the city of Forest Grove, the university gets tax-exempt rates.

Forest Grove’s bond counsel told city councilors several weeks ago that the city could save money if it refinanced at “today’s rate,” said Councilor Richard Kidd. Since then, the rate has risen, Kidd said, while the transparency and public input required by government slows down the approval process.

“The bond market is a little higher now than when we started,” Kidd said, but the city will still save “a significant amount of money.”

“The bond market is basically imploding now. It’s still a good deal but it’s not really a great deal like it was a couple months ago,” said Paul Downey, the city’s finance director.

With Monday’s vote, the process should start soon, Kidd said.

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