By Cal Braid
Westwind Weekly News
The following briefs were selected from the Nov.1 Raymond Council Committee Reports.
Coun. Coppieters shared that an affordable housing meeting with Peter Casurella, executive director at SouthGrow Regional Initiative was a step in the right direction. The consensus was that while affordable housing availability was “at an all-time low, construction costs are at an all-time high,” according to the report. The questions of interest were, “are there subsidies available for an affordable housing project in Raymond, (and) can we come up with a shovel-ready project if grants become available?” The pros of an affordable housing project, aside from the obvious—creating affordable housing—were to increase the tax base, increase assessment, and support local employment. Coppieters’ report stated, “Green building grants (are) available. It sounds like other municipalities are looking to get into affordable housing projects.”
Coun. Jensen delivered a Library Board Meeting Report from October. Her report provided an update on the Town’s donated archives, saying, “All material is stored safely in the vault. Only staff can access it and will then bring out items for patrons to research. Staff will also research for people who reach out through email or phone.” Jensen’s report also gave an interesting example of the value of the archival material. She relayed a story about a brother and sister who needed help finding out about an ‘Aunt Emily,’ who they had never heard anything about. She lived in Raymond in mental health facility. After help from head librarian Faye Geddes and the library staff, who used the archives to research the aunt, the siblings learned much about her. They expressed their gratitude to Geddes and now are putting a headstone on her grave. Geddes told Westwind Weekly that for years the archives had been stored and cared for at the museum by volunteers, but that she had requested that the materials be transferred to the library. She praised the hard work of the volunteers at the museum but thought that the library would “be more conducive’” to the safekeeping and organization of the archives.
Coun. Sieben’s report included positive findings from the Finance and Audit Committee, stating that, “Town finances are getting better. Administration is doing an amazing job controlling expenses. Budgets and expenses for each department are submitted and closely monitored. There was some discussion on how to finance capital projects going forward, which will be a conversation for council in coming months.” Sieben also touched upon the Stampede Relocation Committee, as it continues to discuss new locations for the Stampede. “No exact location has been identified yet (…) we are hoping to have one more year at the current location and more time to enact the relocation,” his report said.