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City leaders get their ducks in row

October 29, 2012

The Bishop City Council unanimously voted Monday to raise rent at the city-owned Sunrise Mobile Home Park, as grant funding for operations there expire in November. Photo by Mike Gervais

Bishop leaders recently gave the go-ahead on two park-related issues and cleared up some wording in an ordinance dealing with the appointment of City Council members.
In light of Councilmember Jeff Griffith’s election to the Inyo County Board of Supervisors, which will take affect in January, city leaders met Monday to discuss guidelines for filling City Council vacancies.
The council unanimously approved an ordinance that will update the city code regarding council appointments.
City Attorney Peter Tracy called the move a “housekeeping item” that will keep city policy in line with state standards.
The ordinance gives the council the ability to either hold a special election to fill the vacancy, or appoint a resident to fill the council seat by serving out the remainder of Griffiths’ term.
Griffiths is scheduled to vacate his council seat when he joins the Inyo County Board of Supervisors in January as the District 2 representative. The council, which is facing additional change in the form of three additional seats being up for election on Nov. 6, has yet to rule how Griffiths’ vacancy will be filled.
On Monday, the council also approved a request from the Community Services Department that allows canine owners access to “established roads and paths” in the city park if they are headed to the Bishop Dog Park at the north end of the city park.
Before the council’s move earlier this week, dogs were not permitted in the park.
Also in the park, the board approved an amendment to the Pine to Park path project, which will give residents a route from Pine Street to the City Park.
Public Works Director Dave Grah said the project began in 2008. Recently, staff completed the necessary environmental documents and are ready to begin the design phase.
Grah said his staff will work with park staff, the Parks and Recreation Commission and organizers of the Bishop Community Garden while developing the details of the project.
He said the path will be concrete, possibly paved with color, similar to the project west of the city auditorium at the intersection of West Line and Home streets. Decisions about planting trees or adding park benches will be decided in the design phase, Grah said.
In all, the Pine to Path project will cost $93,000 and will be funded through a state TEA grant.
The council also unanimously voted to raise rental rates at the city-owned Sunrise Mobile Home Park.
A senior living facility that has operated on a state grant that is slated to expire next month, City Manager Keith Caldwell said rental rates at the park have not been raised in more than 30 years.
Even with the $110 increase, bringing rent to $250 for most Sunrise residents, Caldwell said rent at the city-owned park is about $400 lower than others in the area. He added that rent at Sunrise also includes water, sewer, trash and cable costs.
The increase will only impact Sunrise residents who own their own mobile homes in the park. There are seven residents who rent from the city who will not be impacted, as they already pay a little more than the homeowners in the park.
Caldwell said he met with Sunrise residents before recommending the rate hike. “They understood the adjustment is necessary,” he said.
Two residents of the park attended the meeting and told the council (without identifying themselves) that they feel the rate increase should apply to all residents of the mobile home park.

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