Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 City Council goals

What does the City Council want for 
Lake Oswego in 2016? 
What about you?  What does the city need, and what can you live without?

Since the list of 2016 Council Goals has not been finalized, it remains an open question as to how meaningful their final draft will be.  Following the goal-setting workshop last week, the list looks more like a grocery shopping list or Christmas wish list.  Instead of 10 or 12 focused goals, there are currently 33 - a mind-numbing prospect for any town.  The Council looks like a snake that swallowed a porcupine.

The major gap in this list is how the City Council plans to economize and lessen the tax, fee and debt burden on citizens.  The majority of the city budget is spent on employee salaries, benefits, and PERS retirement contributions.  Even I f nothing is done - no new hires and no staff cuts - in one year the additional rate increases for PERS will be equivilant to 11 FTE.  Succeeding years will only add to that number.  It is nice that PERS made the list, though there is no mention of cutting staff.  To be fair, a lot of items on this list were voted down by a majority of Council members.  A hot button issue for residents is lowering the height limit for downtown development; The goal did not receive any votes from Council.

A side note: As more money pours into urban renewal districts from what should be our biggest source of general fund revenue (commercial development), our ability to keep up with even essential city spending is negatively impacted.  Tax Increment Funding (TIF) may be sold as a painless way to fund development (think North Anchor, improving the appearance of downtown alleys, a new parking lot for the Trolly, etc.), the cost is at the expense of current and future city services.

The City Council will finalize their list at their next meeting.

"Government spending is taxation."
-- Arthur Laffer

Mean 2016 POSSIBLE COUNCIL GOALS (for discussion purposes only) 
5.0 Complete North Anchor Development Agreement
4.9 Complete Final Design for Boones Ferry Project
4.9 New Home for Arts Council (and Gallery)

4.6 Break Ground on Operations Center
4.6 Reduce Unfunded Streets Backlog
4.3 Break Ground on Police/LOCOM Building
4.3 Continue "Dig Once" Policy
4.3 Strategy for Dealing with PERS increase
4.0 Development Code Streamlining
4.0 Adopt Tree Code Amendments
3.6 Explore Possible Incentives to Encourage Remodeling and Discourage Tear-downs
3.4 Complete Major Repairs on the Exterior Walls and Windows of City Hall
3.4 Provide Funding for Ped/Bike Connections
3.4 Improve Downtown Alleys (LORA)
3.3 Explore LIDs for Sidewalk/Path Projects, with Possible Matching Funds from City

3.3 Work with LOSD on Permanent Home for Parks and Rec
3.3 Proceed More Quickly on Urban Renewal Projects
3.1 Explore Opportunities for Mountain Bike Trails
3.1 Accelerate Surface Water Improvements
3.1 Upgrade ACC
3.0 Consider Fiber Broadband Utility (Subject to Feasibility)
3.0 Create Youth Advisory Council
3.0 Work with LOSD on Community Pool Options
2.9 Make Community Forums More Broadly Accessible (Child Care, Access by Transit)
2.7 Community Facility (Library Services, Rec Programming & Meeting Rooms, Police Office) in Lake Grove 

2.7 Make Progress on Willamette Shoreline Trail
2.7 Make Things Easier to Find on the City Website
2.7 Develop Visitor/Tourism Strategy
2.6 Consider Annexation Strategies
2.4 Fully Fund Position of Sustainability Coordinator/Director
2.1 Consider Options for Dealing with Nuisances - Leaf Blowers, Security Lights, Train Whistles
2.0 Consider (Future) Council Compensation
1.0 Consider Reducing Height Limit Downtown 

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely correct. I cannot believe that this is not better organized and thought out. Is this really the best we can do?