Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The New Agenda for a 2013 Council? (part one)

To All COLA LO Members,

Now that the election is over the community is wondering about the agenda for the new council. 

Lets take a look at what the candidates have told us during their interviews and more importantly what the voters have told the candidates!

There were two bond measures on the ballot this election and they received the most voter attention.

Voters stunningly defeated the library bond measure by 16%   More voters voted on this measure than any other item on the ballot.   Clearly the voters said no to not only more property taxes for a library but also to a library in a public/private real estate development partnership within an urban renewal district.   

So clearly the voters voted against both new taxes and urban renewal.    These two items will likely be at the top of the agenda for the new council.  LO added two new urban renewal districts last July for foothills and lake grove.    Will the new council unwind these districts and stop spending valuable taxpayer funds on them?  We think its very likely.   

At the same time the voters very narrowly passed a bond measure for Boone's ferry road improvements.    It passed by only 3% or 640 votes.    The proponents of the measure sold it as "safer streets"  for the area.    Unfortunately the measure was only $5 million and will likely not improve the streets but be spent on engineering.   

The narrow passing of the street measure shows that voters are leery of new taxes even for a core service like street improvement.   They support street improvement, especially on the westide, but they want the city to use its resources to accomplish improvements.  

So its very likely that the new council will have street improvement as a major agenda item but only using existing general funds to pay for the improvements.   We expect the new council will increase street improvement efforts by  transferring funds from other areas or doing more with less.
Given that the new Mayor has said that he plans to develop a strategic plan for the city with the new council its likely it will include both streets and redirecting urban renewal efforts.    The majority of the newly elected councilors also seem to favor less urban renewal by the city and more private development.  They also have all stated that roads are a critical function of the city.  Given this approach its likely that the new council will also focus on reducing the burden/regulations on business and attracting more private development in Lake Oswego.  

So more road work, less urban renewal, and attracting private development may be on the new agenda.    More to come in future posts........

Please notify all members, contacts, and friends.....

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