Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Friday, January 8, 2016

City Council goals for 2016

I was not able to get to the City Council's Open House last night to tell council members what I thought they ought to be focusing on in 2016.  The Council will meet Saturday at Marylhurst to hash out their list of goals for the year.  The workshop is open to the public, but only for observation - no public comments will be allowed.

I will email my suggestions to the Council on Friday - here is my unedited list:

Suggestions for Council Goals for 2016: 

  1. Establish a clear list of core city services and prioritize into 3 tiersThe services that are absolutely essential to the functions of the city - the items we can't do without (fire, police, water, roads, etc), are Tier 1.  Tier 2 are services related to livability (parks, library, ACC, bike paths).  Tier 3 is for the nice-to-haves (alternative energy, grants to groups to improve private property).  Tie the list to the city budget.
  2. Create a budget that covers Tier 1 and Tier 2 services.  This list would not include side agendas that cost taxpayers money but are not essential, such as the purchase of more expensive alternative energy because "it's the right thing to do."   Look for ways to simplify, reduce or eliminate functions within each category and reduce the number of public employees.   Citizens are heavily burdened with city fees; seek ways to lessen this load now.
  3. Request proposals for city services that can be outsourced.  Just about every job in the city falls into this category.  Think big!  How much money can be saved? 
  4. Preserve the livability of residential neighborhoods.  Review and revise development codes so that new development is compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.  Consider applying the building size formula used for flag lots to all new residential development, and create codes for transition areas where commercial uses abuts residential property.
  5. Prioritize citizen needs and livability above the demands of developers, Metro, city beauracracy and commercial interests.
  6. Reject municipal broadband and any plan where the city competes with private entities for business.  The City is not a business.  Creating business ventures and new "utilities" is not a core service.  It is risky, it undermines the free market, it is not needed, it will increase staff and require all citizens to pay for it, etc.  (Put Urban Renewal into this category also.)  
  7. Reform the way advisory committees are chosen.  Disallow people serving in city boards and commissions to serve on SAC or CAC committees. Members of the Planning Commission, City Council have opportunities to weigh in on land use issues and policy decisions and should not have an additional voice in SACS.  Establish a process for soliciting and selecting advisory committees members.  Get input from the Commission for Citizen Involvement and citizens at large. Too often advisory committee members have been solicited by city staff, and average citizens rightly feel left out of the process.  Example: have an ongoing, rotating list of names of citizens wanting to serve on advisory committees, and let about half the committee come from the list. The City needs new/more voices to be heard.  Staff should not solicit names for the list or choose from among them.
  8. Establish a code of ethics for the City Council, members of boards and commissions, stakeholder advisory committees and staff regarding conflicts of interest and conduct in general.  There needs to be guidelines that define what kinds of behavior and interests are not acceptable and reinforce the fiduciary responsibilities of public bodies.
  9. Understand the purpose of code streamlining and most land use plans (to facilitate smart growth, increase density and mixed-use development) and establish priorities for development independent of city staff in order to better guide them.  Note: Code streamlining will change the land use within each zone which will have the same effect as changing the zones - but just not calling it a zone change.  If we don't do Euclidian Zoning anymore, what does that mean for our city? What do citizens want for their city?
  10. Require staff to provide both pros and cons of plans and projects to the Planning Commission and City Council, and to the public.  Too often we all get a slanted picture of issues that colors our opinions and choices.  Getting all of the information is crucial to making an intelligent, informed decision.  To better inform the Council about citizen wishes, conduct an annual (professional) survey on current issues. 
I Will try to winnow this list to 1 page for the Council.  "Simplify" is my resolution for 2016!  

No comments:

Post a Comment