Mayors job is to ask tough questions
It's interesting that my efforts to bring fiscal responsibility and accountability have brought on a recall effort.
As mayor, I believe part of my duty to the city consists in discovering why larger cities in Oregon have smaller budgets and seem to operate more smoothly than Cornelius.
It is my job not only to define the problems, but work to find solutions. An example of this is my asking why the city purchased two Hybrids for $70,000 to drive merely 5,000 miles annually.
Two vehicles for $25,000 would have accommodated the city's needs and saved us $45,000. In today's economy, fiscal responsibility is paramount.
There are multiple problems within city operations, including misrepresentation on the urban growth boundary issue, which created a huge embarrassment to our city.
The $43,000 graffiti removal machine should be in use, not left in storage. The $4,000,000 library building proposal, along with increased staff and operating costs, would place undue burdens on taxpayers.
Currently, our fire chief position is shared with Forest Grove, and our police chief is the interim city manager, saving us thousands of dollars monthly.
Recently, the council voted to allocate up to $10,000 for an efficiency review to streamline city operations, allowing us to eliminate the general services fee without sacrificing services.
The mayor has taken on the review of the city codes to proactively make the city attractive while retaining important codes to improve livability for residents and sustainability for business. Bringing new business to Cornelius minimizes the tax burden on residents.
After the election, but before the new mayor and council took office, the outgoing council voted to give the previous city manager an additional two months of severance pay and a substantial salary increase.
This prophetic decision made the city liable for thousands of dollars that should have been used for something more productive.
It's interesting that my efforts to bring fiscal responsibility and accountability to Cornelius have brought on a recall effort. This from a previous council member who voted for numerous raises for city staff in a bad economy?
I believe the city must remain transparent in all of its business dealings.
- Neal Knight is mayor of Cornelius. He and two councilors face a recall election on Sept. 27.