Friday, October 1, 2010

What is the state of City Services in Lake Oswego?

In recent years, our City Council has pursued "their vision" of the core city services Lake Oswego Citizens should have to make their lives better. Many of these choices have been made and few citizens know the details.

They all require our hard-earned tax dollars but they also cost us in terms of the services we do not have because the council chose not to fund them in favor of these services. Here are some examples of questions every citizen needs to answer for themselves.

Redevelopment Expenditures
  1. Was it responsible to spend $146,000 on Boones Ferry Refinement Plan for Lake Grove and spending $1,300,000 on Foothills Redevelopment Plan from General Fund Reserves?
  2. Was it responsible not to complete the Lake Grove plan and then enter into a new project study on Foothills Redevelopment?
  3. 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 pay for the building from general funds that can be used for other services? Note that the lowest estimate of additional required upgrades is on the order of $60 millionThis is in addition to the lost market value of $12 million and doesn't include the costs of all the consultants and staff time!
Parks & Recreation Expenditures
  1. Was it responsible to reduce park maintenance funding by $55,000 while paying a new tennis facility consultant $60,000?
  2. Was it responsible to spend $1,300,000 on Foothills Redevelopment Plan from General Fund Reserves when we can use these funds for enhanced parks and recreation services?
  3. Was it responsible to provide no funding for removing ivy from trees while spending $250,000 on the Centennial celebration?
  4. Was it responsible to not complete the bicycle/pathway system while budgeting $84,000 for Washington DC lobbyists and 4 public information staff positions
  5. Was it responsible to not utilize city professional staff resources more efficiently instead of Contracting with consultants for $250,000 for a Parks Master Plan and $100,000 for assistance with the Comprehensive Plan Update?
Neighborhoods & Protection
  1. Is it responsible to reduce neighborhood planning support while the City Council directed the City Manager to review the Development Code to enable housing options such as cottage, cluster housing and secondary dwelling units?
  2. Is it responsible to eliminate traffic engineer and community service officer positions and reduce neighborhood planning program staff resources by 1.5 positions while hiring an Economic Development Manager and Administrative Assistant and creating a marketing program that has spent $30,000 for a consultant and $20,000 for the Summer 2010 "Say Hello to LO" promotion
  1. Is it responsible to continue spending increases in light of Lake Oswego’s slowing growth, decline in number of school age children, aging population and the likelihood of an extended slow growth national economy?
  2. Is it appropriate to increase staff levels by 10 positions in the past two years and paying for leased office space for the economic development staff when they can use the WEB?
  3. Are we focused on the right priorities or are we trading off non-core expenses for needed core services?
  • An inquisitive mind that examines the issues facing Lake Oswego.
  • Provide input and Vote

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