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Budget Committee prioritizes street maintenance, pathways

Proposal sent to City Council for approval also includes funding to replace aging, unsafe lights at George Rogers Park

LAZENBYLake Oswego’s Citizens Budget Committee evaluated and passed a proposed City budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 last week that includes several large infrastructure investments — and some last-minute changes.

The proposed budget, which will now go to the City Council in June, remains largely similar to the initial 2016-17 budget outlined last year, according to City Manager Scott Lazenby. In terms of big projects, it secures the last of the necessary funding for the City’s new maintenance and operations center, which is currently in the design phase. It also sets aside roughly $850,000 to start a fund for much-needed repairs to City Hall.

One of the biggest additions to the budget is an increase in funding for street maintenance. The City has made street repair a top priority for the last several years, but according to committee Chairman Dave Berg, the $3.1 million allocated to streets for the upcoming year is the largest street repair budget yet. On Tuesday, Berg told The Review that the continued focus on streets became a major discussion point at the May 5 meeting.

BERG“I think that was a big challenge,” he said. “There were several people that thought (more General Fund money) shouldn’t go there — it should go to City Hall, it should go to pathways, it should go to other areas. I think that was the big challenge this round.”

The meeting also saw a last-minute change to include funding to replace aging lights around the field in George Rogers Park. A recent study showed that the poles are extremely weak structurally and have become a public safety hazard, which Lazenby told the committee “came as a surprise to everyone.” The replacement project could cost as much as $500,000.

City staff recommended taking $250,000 in General Fund money that would have gone toward repairs to City Hall and instead using it to fund the light replacement. Lazenby suggested that the rest of the funding could come from the Parks & Recreation Department, which is facing lower maintenance costs than originally anticipated. The committee ultimately approved Lazenby’s proposal.

The committee also voted to put $500,000 in System Development Charges funds toward pathway development. Berg said the goal is to tie pathway development to street maintenance as much as possible to save costs, citing the recent renovation of Kerr Parkway as an example.

“We put a half-million dollars in SDC money toward pathways, and we made it very specific projects as recommended by (the Transportation Advisory Board),” Berg said. “Every place we can, we’re trying to make that integrated with the street improvements — and Kerr Parkway is the prime example of that.”

The budget committee was scheduled to reconvene May 5 as the Lake Oswego Redevelopment Agency budget committee, but the first meeting went too late and the LORA meeting was rescheduled for tonight. Watch for details from that session at lakeoswegoreview.com and in next week's issue of The Review.

Contact Anthony Macuk at 503-636-1281 ext. 108 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..