GOLD HILL — The City Council could hire a city manager this week and start working out some problems at the Public Works Department.

GOLD HILL — The City Council could hire a city manager this week and start working out some problems at the Public Works Department.

Mary Goddard, Gold Hill city recorder, said Friday that three meetings are scheduled to interview five finalists for the city manager job. Council members agreed to hire a manager in recent months to oversee city funds and departments.

Goddard said the three meetings, Sunday through Tuesday, would be executive sessions, which under Oregon law can be closed to the public. Goddard said the council likely will announce a decision in the next week.

She said 16 people applied for the job, and three of the finalists live in Oregon.

The job comes with a $50,000 salary.

"A few of our initial applicants have already gotten jobs elsewhere, so it would be very prudent of us to do interviews and make our decision soon," said Councilwoman Donna Silva.

"I think we were all pleased with the caliber of applicants," she added.

Silva said a "jack of all trades" would be an ideal match for Gold Hill — someone who has experience in planning, grant writing, personnel and management. She said the city would like to have the new manager at work within 30 to 60 days.

"If we're going to do this, we might as well go for our full wish list," she said.

In other business, a public session at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall will give residents a chance to discuss proposed rate hikes for water and sewer services.

Council members approved a $2.80 water bill surcharge on Aug. 5 to repay a loan incurred to remove the city's diversion dam.

The council is waiting to see a study of water rates in comparable Oregon cities that will help it decide whether a water-rate increase is warranted, too.

Another water and sewer meeting has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at City Hall.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford.

E-mail her at buffypollock@juno.com.