Compared to other Oregon cities, Sandy is setting an example
'Sandy's in great shape' are the four words Mayor Bill King used last week to describe the state of the city.
The city of Sandy is becoming one of few icons within Oregon. Its good reputation is in its many new amenities, the speed with which the city is growing and the success it has had in weathering the economic storm of the past few years.
This statement represents the message that King and City Manager Scott Lazenby gave last week at a luncheon for members of the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce.
King said he has attended meetings with other mayors, and it has made him proud to be from Sandy when other mayors spoke about the many problems they have been facing for several years.
'I sat there listening (to the other cities' problems),' King said, 'and I didn't stand up and say anything (negative) because (Sandy) isn't facing any of the problems (the other cities) are. The city of Sandy is in remarkably good shape in almost every aspect.'
Local business owner Laura Allen asked what King thought was the biggest opportunity for the city of Sandy in the coming year.
'It's the economy,' he said. 'That opens up so many doors. If the city had more money, we could (for example) do the Gateway project and we could have a lot of things that we would like to have.'
King spoke about last spring's budgeting process, noting 'the city didn't cut any programs or services.'
'We're doing about the same amount (of services) with less money,' he said. 'I think the city has done a really good job of trying to stretch your tax dollars as far as it can. I think we're doing the best we can with what we have.'
Lazenby introduced the city's newest hire, David Snider, whose responsibilities focus on the city's economic development and outreach to area businesses.
Regarding the city's Main Street program, Lazenby said he's hoping the steering committee will be able to transition the program into an independent nonprofit and separate it from the city. The combination of Main Street Manager Jason McNeil and Snider, he said, has the potential of creating an environment in the city that encourages businesses to grow and develop.
'We're looking for opportunities for businesses to expand,' Lazenby said. 'There are actually quite a few businesses in Sandy that are really doing pretty well through this recession.
'We're working on the idea of economic gardening. The philosophy is: Instead of trying to play god with the economy (and specify which businesses are allowed in specific places), we want to create an environment (a garden) for businesses to grow.'
Interim Chamber Director Mitch Speck suggested one way local residents could assist in the economic development of the city is to be a hometown promoter, telling people why they like to live in Sandy and describing its amenities.
'As business owners (and local residents), we can talk it up,' Speck said. 'If you start talking up your community and what a great place it is to live and work and have a business, guess what's going to happen: People are going to believe it.'