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Busy schedules ahead for budget, citizen involvement boards

You may not hear much about them, or even know they exist, but West Linn citizen advisory groups set the table for high-level policy discussions at the Planning Commission and City Council.

Heading into a busy summer of work, The Tidings spoke with advisory board chairs about their most noteworthy projects.

The second installment of this series focuses on the Citizens’ Budget Committee and the newly formed Committee for Citizen Involvement.

Citizens’ Budget Committee

The heaviest lifting for the Citizens’ Budget Committee — which consists of the five City Council members and five community members — comes every other year, when West Linn adopts its biennial budget. Thus, at the midpoint of the 2016-17 biennial budget, the budget committee has most recently focused its efforts on community grants.

“The Citizens’ Budget Committee just completed a six-week long process to compile our recommendations for council on community grant award winners,” committee chair Karen Hensley said. The City awards a total of $20,000 in community grants on an annual basis, and they are generally used to fund projects that provide some sort of benefit to the city, be it related to history, culture, arts or education, to name a few.

The application process opened March 7 and closed April 8. After two rounds of review by the committee, final recommendations were sent to the City Council. Those recommendations were considered during the June 6 council work session, and while the council expressed general approval of the allocations, a final ruling will be made at a later date.

In the end, funding recommendations included:

n $1,500 for the West Linn Historical Society

n $1,000 for the West Linn Community Chorus

n $1,500 for the Happy Trails Riding Center

n $1,500 for a July 4 fireworks event

n $1,500 for Clackamas Women’s Services

n $900 for the West Linn Lions Health Screening Program

n $1,500 for the West Linn Lions Shoes and Socks for Kids program

n $2,000 for the West Linn Food Pantry

n $700 for the Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation

n $500 for an Oktoberfest event

n $1,500 for Youth Music Project

n $1,500 for Music & Arts Partners (MAP)

n $1,700 for the West Linn Chamber of Commerce Warm for Winter program

n $475 for Creatures of the Night

n $525 for Friends of the Robinwood Station

n $1,700 for the West Linn Community Task Force.

When the fiscal year ends in June, the committee will turn its focus to evaluating the current budget at its midway point.

“The budget committee will review actual-to-budget performance reports, including key leading performance metrics for each core city service,” Hensley said. “We look forward to reviewing this year’s reports and providing residents with transparency and clarity on the ‘bang for their tax buck.’”

Committee for Citizen Involvement

In adopting its 2016 goals, the West Linn City Council made a priority out of reengaging the long dormant Committee for Citizen Involvement.

On May 17, Thomas Tucker was named chair of the CCI, and he said the CCI’s goals moving forward include “discussion of potential revisions to the West Linn Municipal and Community Development Codes that clarify the procedures and rules for citizen involvement,” as well as developing further mechanisms of citizen engagement in matters of community development.

The CCI’s overall goal, according to Tucker, is to “promote and increase active citizen involvement in all phases of the land use planning process.”

On May 9, the CCI updated its bylaws to add a representative from the Chamber of Commerce and the Neighborhood Association Presidents group. The CCI has also discussed a number of potential Municipal Code changes, including adding alternate members for each citizen advisory group. Alternates would fill the remainder of a term if a board member were to depart.

Finally, the CCI discussed potentially adding an “arts advisory board” to the existing crop of 10 advisory groups.

The CCI’s next scheduled meeting is set for June 16 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

Patrick Malee can be reached at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..