Concerns in several letters published recently imply that questioning the decisions of Lake Oswego's leadership is somehow detracting from the governing process. They also suggest that our leadership has acted responsibly as stewards of the city's financial and infrastructure health.
The following facts, however, raise questions about the mayor's and city council's handling the city's basic needs:
March 2003, the Hello LO publication reflects that a 2001 feasibility study indicated a new lake interceptor would cost between $16 million and $25 million.
A February 2005 survey of city residents determined that only 36 percent of the citizens supported a community center estimated, at that time, at $27 million.
In December 2005, council Resolution 05-85 declared the Safeco site a public necessity (setting up a condemnation purchase path) with the purpose to be a community center.
Jan. 11, 2006, the city received a Class 1 violation notice from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for failing to control its sewage overflows.
Jan. 20, 2006, Council Retreat Minutes reflect Mayor Hammerstad observed that the community center would be the council's No. 1 priority. The sewer interceptor is not addressed as a council goal.
April 2006, the council voted unanimously (Resolution 06-15) to spend $20 million for the Safeco site and temporarily deplete rainy day property tax reserve accounts for the money.
March 7, 2007, a community center fact sheet reflects the cost to upgrade the site to be $60 million and does not include the original purchase cost of $20 million, a lap pool estimated over $20 million or a library that is estimated at an additional $25 million. All of this represents a four-fold increase ($105-125) over the original projection in the 2005 public survey.
June 12, 2007, public forum records confirm that interest on the existing loan for the Safeco site is $83,000 per month, plus maintenance costs. To date, these additional costs exceed $2.5 million without a public vote on one tax penny.
July 11, 2007, the city council approves a $100 million lake interceptor sewer line, a five-fold increase over the original estimate in 2003. The council approved an initial $12 million revenue bond that will result in increased sewer bills that will not be tax deductible.
It is time that the city's taxpaying residents have a greater voice in the handling of non-essential property purchases and their impact upon the overall needs of the city. Yes on 3-269.
Denny Hageman is a resident of Lake Oswego.