Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Heard around town..


...from authoritative sources:

Regarding the city's budget:
Sales, fees and services bring in more money than property taxes.

Utility fees equal 83% of property tax income.

 Debt service for the city is $7 million per year.  If this debt were paid down to zero, it would cost each person $700 per year, and the debt would be paid off in 2035.  (Population of Lake Oswego as of 2012 was 37,298 - US Census)

Employee costs and retirement benefits are the largest expense of city government.  Some cities outsource some or all of their services, such as finance, parks maintenance and fire, while others hire their own staff.  The number of employees and how they are paid has a huge influence on the city's budget.  In Lake Oswego it takes 100 taxpayers to support 1 full time employee. Comparable cities are as low as 11 taxpayers to 1 FTE.  The discrepancy comes from staffing and wage differences, with Lake Oswego being the most expensive.

If significant changes are not made to spending, the city's income will fail to cover expenses in the budget year, 2017-2018.  Lake Oswego is becoming too expensive to live in and we want to see expenses cut rather than more debt or raising taxes and fees.

On Sensitive Lands:
I was 18 years ago tat overnight, 10% of the property owners became responsible for the city's natural resources.  Citizen's property [uses] became non-conforming with added deed restrictions.  To build, sell or do anything in the property, property owners have to go through an expensive [unaffordable] process of delineation and deed changes costing thousands of dollars.  Changes were promised, but it's been 18 years without clarity.

On Codes:
A couple of years ago a survey of citizens showed that a majority thought the tree code was too intrusive, yet substantive changes have not been made.

On Neighborhood Plans:
Only 8 of 22 Neighborhood Associations have formal Neighborhood Plans.  Regarding the renewed effort to get more neighborhoods to create plans and update the old ones, citizens see how existing Plans (and even associated code) have been ignored when they were needed most.  People are wondering, "Why bother?"  We want the plan, but we want them to mean something and have the teeth of codes included as part of the deal.

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