Friday, September 3, 2010

What is the state of Fiscal Responsibility in Lake Oswego?

In recent years, our City Council has pursued “their vision” of what Lake Oswego Citizens should have to make their lives better. Many of these vision pursuits have been executed and many are in the planning process. They all require an ongoing commitment of our hard-earned tax dollars. Here are some examples of questions every citizen needs to answer for themselves.


  • Was it responsible to purchase the West End Building (WEB) with $20 million of departmental reserves without a permanent financing plan? Without a ballpark estimate of what development costs ($120+ million) might be and how those costs would be repaid? 
  •  Is it responsible to promise Citizens that City Council will present a proposed solution for the WEB (now that we own it at a reduced market value of $8.5 million), but continue to kick the can to the future leaving Citizens in the dark about what their recommended plans are for the building?

FOOTHILLS PROJECT (between State Street and the Willamette River)

  • Was it responsible to start another much, much larger, speculative “vision project” called the Foothills Project also by taking reserves totaling $1.3 million to fund a predevelopment planning agreement instead of husbanding reserve dollars as a rainy day fund?
  • Could we not use these funds to improve core city services or support a reserve?
 STREETCAR EXTENSION (from South Waterfront to Albertson’s)

  • Is it responsible to pursue a $380-$458 million Streetcar Extension Project?
  • Is it responsible to tell Citizens that the proposed Streetcar Project will be mostly financed by Federal dollars and if we don’t take the money, some other city will? It is now estimated that the Federal/Local split will be 50/50 and may result in having LO to contribute tens of millions of dollars.

  • Is it responsible to continue spending increases in light of Lake Oswego’s slowing growth, declines in school age children, aging population and the likelihood of an extended slow growth national economy?
  • Is it responsible to expect our elder Citizens will be able to afford the increases in taxes and fees associated with the spending on these projects?
  • Is it not responsible for the City to work with our LO School District in figuring how the City and Schools can work together in keeping our Schools among the state’s elite?
  • Are we focused on the right priorities or are we trading off visionary projects for needed capital improvements? Can we afford both?

  •  An inquisitive mind that examines the issues facing Lake Oswego.
  • Provide input and Vote


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