Levy allows services to continue


Campaign was a real team effort

On behalf of the City of Forest Grove, our city council and our employees, I wanted to take a moment to express our deep gratitude to all of you who supported the city's levy request that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters last week.

I cannot tell you what a relief it is to all of us to have the voters approve this measure. Passage of this levy will allow us to continue our focus on providing the best possible service to our community, and to continue being a full-service city.

We understand that the economy hasn't completely rebounded and that many families are still struggling. We also understand jobs are scarce and money is tight. Despite these tough economic times, the overwhelming majority of our citizens voted favorably to continue to invest in the future of our community. It is a clear statement about the commitment and support many citizens of Forest Grove have for our wonderful city.

I also want to use this opportunity to thank all those who worked so hard in promoting a positive vote for our city's future. I know I am going to leave some names out, but specifically Jill Verboort, who chaired our campaign, Rod Fuiten who served as treasurer, Glen VanBlarcom, who visited many organizations and spoke on behalf of the future of Forest Grove, are to be thanked. I also would be remiss if I didn't include Dick Stenson for his fundraising efforts. And your city councilors also volunteered their time, talent and fortune on behalf of this campaign. Again, there are others who helped a great deal and the fault is mine for not listing them by name.

The work is not yet done. Your mayor and councilors are also deeply aware of the mandate that we, as a city, and we, as a state, must figure out what we want Forest Grove and the State of Oregon to look like in the next 20 to 50 years, and how we are going to get there. The discussions will be held in state legislature, in our council chambers and in board rooms and living rooms across this vibrant state.

Once again, on behalf of all of us who work or volunteer for the city, thank you for making a difference. We all feel very fortunate to serve a community that works together. In doing so, we can maintain and enhance Forest Grove as a community where families and businesses thrive.

Peter B. Truax

Mayor, Forest Grove

Vote gives officials needed certainty

Now that the dust has settled, and we know that the 5-year operating levy has passed, I am pleased to submit a balanced budget for FY 2012-13 to the City of Forest Grove Budget Committee. As the council and budget committee know, passing this levy was critical, because it helps create certainty over the next 6 years.

If it hadn't passed, we may have needed to explore downsizing operations immediately, in order to live within a declining budget.

This budget aims to focus city resources towards accomplishing various goals and aspirations identified in the city's Vision Statement along with other priorities of the city council. On an annual basis, the council reviews the Vision Statement and adopts and prioritizes goals and objectives aimed at addressing various community priorities and needs. These work plans and associated costs of achieving these goals and objectives are incorporated into the budget.

While this proposed budget is based on maintaining current services, it also is starting the process to address long-term capital needs to maintain the city's vital utility infrastructure, particularly for electricity and water. The proposed budget addresses other needs such as increasing funding to implement a specific marketing plan that has been developed by staff and the city's Economic Development Commission.

Forest Grove is committed to remaining a full-service city. I believe that we are very blessed to be leaders in a community that really understands the fact that without their support the City cannot succeed.

Passing a five-year levy for an increased amount is almost unheard of in Oregon and it speaks volumes about the commitment and partnership between the city and our citizens. It is my pleasure submitting a budget that allows us to continue our mission of maintaining and providing the services that help make Forest Grove a great place for families to live and for businesses to thrive.

Michael J. Sykes

City Manager