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Business, streets, water, budget are top priorities next year

Thank you for your vote. I am honored to be your new city councilor. West Linn is a great community. My family and I have enjoyed the many parks, open spaces, trails, shops and events. Throughout the campaign, I heard the same positive reinforcements about our city. Yet, we have some work to do.

First, we need to focus our efforts on economic development. West Linn does not have one central business district, but rather three separate ones. This is a challenge. We need to utilize all available tools to retain businesses and recruit new ones. But what can you do today?

Working with the local chamber of commerce, I introduced the cash mob movement. Each month you can join us in purchasing $20 worth of goods at local businesses. As an enticement, most businesses offer discounts for this event.

Secondly, pedestrians need safe facilities to use as they walk, jog or run. There are many areas in our city where sidewalks simply end and pedestrians are forced onto the street. This is an unsafe condition and one I deem as unacceptable. Our children deserve safe walkways to school. Additionally, we need to look at our roads. Our last pavement condition report should be our benchmark for improvement. We need to raise the overall score to a more acceptable 80/100. This level of improvement will take time, and we need to start now before our roads fall into greater disrepair.

Thirdly, we need to take a serious look at our water infrastructure. We have aging pipes in many areas of the city that have outlived their useful lives. There are pipes breaking on a weekly basis. Residents should expect water at their taps when they turn on their faucets. The council is currently working on several proposals and models to address this need. I will continue to support this work as my term starts next year.

Finally, each of us has felt the effects of the recession. Families look at their own budgets to determine what areas need to be eliminated to balance out the new economic reality. The same will hold true again this year for the city. There is a budget challenge looming on the horizon. During the last budget cycle we have already done more with less, but the next biennium we are just going to have to do less. The budget committee and council will need to prioritize services that are important to our citizens.

In the coming months, we need to hear from you. What ideas do you have to address this challenge? What services are important to you? Share your ideas at WestLinnIdeas.com.

Our government relies on citizen participation. To be an effective city councilor I want to hear from you. In the coming months, I will announce my outreach but in the meantime, please take time to connect with me. Visit my website at Thomas4WestLinn.com and sign up for my newsletter. I want to make a positive difference to our community.

Thomas Frank is a West Linn resident who was elected to the city council on Nov. 6.