After serving two years as the City of Prineville mayor, Betty Roppe still sees lots of issues and unfinished work remaining.
>She wants to continue to work toward a diversified Prineville economy
Consequently, she is running for a second term in hopes of helping complete the jobs that she and the rest of the City have started. She will run unopposed.
One of Roppe’s primary focuses, if elected to a second term, would be the local economy. She said the City still lacks enough jobs and needs to bolster its business base.
“We still have businesses coming to the community that need to be welcomed and encouraged to locate here,” she said.
Roppe said that any new businesses that come to Prineville usually make City Hall their first stop. Consequently, she feels that the City needs to help them work through the different requirements and processes they will face as they start their company in Prineville.
As part of that process, Roppe feels the City should require a business license of its incoming businesses as well as the existing companies. In doing so, she feels the City can keep better track of who is doing business in Prineville, and can furnish them with all the City rules and regulations associated with the doing business in the community.
Roppe has found that new companies are amazed that Prineville does not require a business license. Among existing companies, the idea has drawn mixed reviews.
“I have talked to businesses in the community about that, and surprisingly, I have a fair number who see the reasoning for having a business license,” she said. “I have other businesses that say that it’s just another business tax.”
When it comes to job creation, Roppe wants the City to continue to focus on business diversity. She does not want Prineville to put all of its eggs in one basket as they have with the timber industry in the past. Roppe wants the City to continue to recruit data centers, but hopes to bring in some manufacturing businesses and more.
“We’re starting to do a good job with that, but I think it is going to take some time,” she said. “We need to continue what we are doing, but maybe step it up a bit.”
The primary unfinished job that Roppe hopes to see through to completion is the passage of federal legislation associated with Bowman Dam.
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would allocate 5,100 acre-feet of Prineville Reservoir water for Prineville and enable a hydroelectric plant on Bowman Dam. A companion bill awaits approval in the U.S. Senate, but has generated local controversy.
The Senate bill includes language that allows the Bureau of Reclamation to store and release water as needed by local irrigators and fish habitat. Critics of the bill feel the language leaves open the possibility to drain the reservoir.
Roppe said she supports the bill as it currently exists, and pointed out that the legislation is four years in the making.
“Senate Bill 3483 doesn’t answer all of our questions, but it answers most of our questions,” she said. “It is my opinion that having the first-fill storage and release (for irrigation) will give us 80,000 acre-feet in the reservoir. Recreation and bass fishing can use that water . . . It is my opinion it (Prineville Reservoir) is not going to be drained.”
While she supports the bill and does not agree with its critics, Roppe said she appreciates people having different opinions.
“I want to know their opinions,” she said. “I need to listen to the citizens, and I believe I have done that.”
The 2012 general election will be held on Nov. 6. Crook County ballots will be mailed out on Oct. 19.