Letters to the Editor
- Forest Grove News-Times - Opinion
Letters to the Editor
Gaston post office spared (for now)
I was relieved to check the list of post offices currently slated to be closed and to find that our Gaston Post Office is not on the current list of post offices projected for closure.
I mentioned that sentiment to Frank, our postmaster, and he said that he thought our post office could still be in jeopardy in the future.
Since the formula used for determining closures is based on the amount of money a post office takes in compared to the cost of running it, as our busy lives allow, it would seem like a good idea for us all to direct as much of our U.S. Postal Service business to the Gaston site as possible.
Rather than buying stamps or doing USPS business at other locations, if your desire is the same as mine, to support the home post office as much as possible, let's try to direct as much of our business as possible to the home post office to lend it our support
Janet Beeler Todd
Council fails to show support for Forest Grove's senior center
It is obvious that the majority of the City Council members do not support the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center. A recent request was made for $12,000 from the Community Enhancement Program (CEP) funds to replace worn carpet, move a compressor and build a small fence.
Jeff Marsh, the center's manager, followed the explicit instructions given to him by Mike Sykes, the city manager, on the preparation of the request.
Mr. Sykes later said he had trouble understanding what Mr. Marsh was requesting.
Only three councilors voted to approve the funds … it took four votes to get the money. Councilors Camille Miller, Tom Johnston and Ron Thompson voted 'yes.'
Out of the $65,000 CEP funds available, the center got nothing!
For the past several years ten thousand dollars has been allocated from the general fund budget to the center with no strings attached until it was decided two years ago to dictate that the money be used only for 'utilities.'
The regular utility bill is $1,200 a month. Simple math indicates that this meager stipend is paid back plus $4,400 to keep the lights on. This past budget removed the $10,000 with no reasons given. I doubt that any member of the council ordered this, which leaves me to believe that it was done by the city manager and the finance director.
It took an urgent plea before the Budget Committee to re-allocate the funds. The point here is that the city does not support the center.
'Well, we give you the building,' remarked Councilor Victoria Lowe, who obviously has forgotten that the building was built with a Community Development Block Grant. Councilor Elena Ewing insisted that the re-allocation be used 'only for utilities!'
The Mayor, Peter Truax, told me privately that, 'I would like to give the senior center more money.' Apparently he forgot what he had said because he did not support the CEP request and failed to mention the fact that the $10,000 appropriation was not included in the current budget document.
One bright note was sounded by Councilor Tom BeLusko. He complained that he had not received monthly accounting from the center, although those documents had been delivered to the city manager for the past six months and should have been forwarded to the council members.
I suggested he had an internal communications problem, but that I would personally see he had whatever he needed. He then supported the re-allocation. After the smoke cleared, the Budget Committee voted unanimously to give the center ten thousand dollars, ' for utilities only.'
My comment to Councilor Lowe is that taxpayers built the center and we, the taxpayers, own the building. My comment to Councilor Ewing is what difference does it make how we spend the stipend? The simple truth is that these two people simply do not support the center.
One quarter of the population of Forest Grove is made up of senior citizens … those who have paid taxes for more years than anyone on the city council and they deserve better treatment than they have been given.
- Aldie Howard is a member of the board of directors of the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center.