Planning process criticism aired


This is an open letter to the citizens of Lake Oswego, the mayor and city council:

In a response to my request for financial planning information from the mayor and city council, the mayor responded on Nov. 2nd that she would be happy to share financial information as soon as she has it.

I guess she had forgotten that in a council meeting on July 17, 2006 council was presented with a handout titled 'Prospective Projects and Potential Funding Sources.'

(City of Lake Oswego Director of Public Affairs) Jane Heisler reviewed the handout staff prepared, listing all the major projects coming up, their possible funding mechanisms, the timing and their impact.

Sounds just like what I asked for! It lists nine projects and sub projects totaling $171 to $186 million with $66.5 to $77.5 million to be covered by general obligation bonds.

That's significant because, fellow citizens, that's the only part of this borrowing scheme you will be allowed to vote on. The balance of $100 million can be borrowed by your council on your behalf without asking your approval.

And, fellow citizens, these amounts do not include any capital spending needs that require bond financing for the Lake Oswego School District which is an entirely separate governmental group.

Further Councilor (John)Turchi pointed out that this list was not a complete list of projects for which either the city or LORA could bond over the next few years. He spoke to having the whole list in order for council to have a complete sense of what was coming up.

Councilor did you have any success with your request? As a citizen and a taxpayer in the city of Lake Oswego I would like my city council to supply me with this information.

Now in the Lake Oswego Review of Dec. 14, 'city employees caution these figures aren't very accurate.' Does staff not supply council with the best available estimates of costs at the time? Does council accept inaccurate figures from staff? What goes on here?

In a separate article, the mayor refers to a planning process that is in place long before contracts are signed or checks are cut. What about the check for $20 million for Safeco?

Nor does she mention that the most recent CIP was adopted March 15, 2005. Some planning process!

Kevin Poling is a resident of

Lake Oswego.

Editor's note: To view a copy of the handout, 'Prospective Projects and Potential Funding Sources,' go to the Lake Oswego Review Web site, type in the seach word 'priorities' and follow the Web link at the bottom of the story titled 'Lake Oswego City Council will have to set priorities for city.'