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Breaking down the budget process in LO

Why do we live in Lake Oswego? Perhaps we grew up here or chose to make Lake Oswego our home. The city has a lot to offer: a sense of secure community, natural beauty, great schools and a proximity to a variety of businesses, cultural and recreational activities.Manz

Running a city that offers as much as Lake Oswego requires resources, both financial and human. On the human side, our citizens are highly involved. Six-hundred-plus Lake Oswego citizens donate their time and expertise serving our community in a variety of ways, including sitting on the citizen budget committee. Collins

Lake Oswego operates on your money; we want your input, comments and suggestions.

The budget process is prescribed in accordance with its city charter and Oregon Revised Statues 294.305-294.565. The city manager manages the budget; the finance department reviews and monitors the ongoing expenditures. The budget committee is the spending planning board of the city. It consists of the city council and an equal number of volunteer citizen members appointed by the council for a total of 14 equal voting members. ORS 294.336 mandates a budget committee for all local governments. The budget year runs from July 1 to June 30.

The Lake Oswego budget is not just a 238-page document; it is a reflection of what we Lake Oswegeans value most.

The 2014-15 budget year kicked off on Oct. 8, 2013. Through December, the city manager and finance department will develop budget goals and guidelines and present them to the city council. During January and February 2014, the city council establishes the year’s goals, preliminary budget drafts are prepared and submitted for the finance department’s review and departments submit budget narratives, which are then discussed and reviewed. Capital improvement project requests — streets, buildings, pathways, pipes, for example — are due to management.

It is never too early to have a budget requirement discussion with your neighborhood association, the city council or a budget committee member.

In March and April 2014, the final departmental and financial review meetings take place and the proposed budget is printed. Budget committee meetings are advertised. The city manager presents the budget to the budget committee and the attending or viewing public. All budget committee meetings are open to the public and televised. May brings deliberations, revisions, legal notifications and, if we’ve done our messaging well, substantial citizen input. The budget committee discusses, deliberates and approves the proposed budget and sends it to the city council, which is, of course, part of the full budget committee. The city council holds additional public hearings in June before adopting the proposed budget. Ultimately, the council holds the up or down vote and may make changes to the full budget-committee-proposed budget. Within legal and statutory limitations, the city council can amend the budget during the fiscal year.

It is never too late to become a part of the budget conversation.

We are exploring additional ways to open up and refine the citizen input component of the budget. Thank you to those who went before us and laid the groundwork for a civil, thoughtful environment — we hope to build the next story. All citizens have a choice in how our city evolves and spends taxpayer money. Please join us in being part of the budget process.

Jackie Manz and Charles Collins, Lake Oswego, are co-vice chairs of the Lake Oswego Budget Committee.



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