Forest Grove city councilor will finish term ending in December, with budget reductions, levy renewal and transportation options on his agenda for the remainder of his tenure on council

Forest Grove's City Councilor Tom BeLusko Jr. has informed his colleagues and top city administrators that he won't seek election this fall.

BeLusko was appointed to the board in October 2009 to fill the vacancy created when then-Councilor Pete Truax was picked to finish the term of former Mayor Richard Kidd, who stepped down to run for the county commission. BeLusko's term expires at the end of this year.

His exit will mark the first time in eight years a sitting city councilor has announced his retirement from city council, creating an open seat.

In 2006, Camille Miller filed to run for a seat on city council even though incumbents Deena Barret, Ron Thompson and Tom Johnston all filed to run for reelection.

Barrett's campaign petition was short three of the 25 signatures she needed to be listed on the ballot.

Aldie Howard also ran in 2006, but lost his bid for the council.

In a letter circulated earlier this week, BeLusko, a principal at Forest Grove's WSC Insurance, noted that since his appointment his business has expanded.

'However,' he added, 'more importantly to me, commitments to being a father and husband are even more precious. Time is fleeting as my wonderful wife and I watch our children grow up much too quickly.

BeLusko, 41, made it clear that he intends to finish his term at full-speed, outlining five priorities for this year:

• Passing a budget with at least a 5 percent reduction in each city department other than police and fire

• Bringing the postponed conversation about annexing the city's 'island' properties to a council vote

• Passing a 'reasonable and efficient' local option levy in May

• Continuing to promote Forest Grove as a place where business can thrive

• Pressing for better transportation to and within Forest Grove

BeLusko also stressed that he was not leaving the council out of frustration.

'My decision is not based in a lack of faith in our city council or the city management,' he wrote. 'Although I do not agree with every decision that comes out of City Hall, our local government does actually 'work.' The core fabric of our community is made of people who care enough to volunteer their time, expertise and talent for the betterment of all of our citizens. Over the last two years I've learned an acute appreciation for the volunteers and staff who constructively contribute towards the success of our town.'

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