Happy New Year!

West Linn has just completed its centennial year, and there were celebrations all year long that involved lots of folks having lots of fun. Among many other events, we had music in the park, an Old Time Fair, a memorial placed at the rest stop on Interstate 205 and a newly designed seal for the city of West Linn. by: SUBMITTED - Kovash

Your city council and staff were also busy making things happen that will help keep the city vibrant, functional and livable into our second century.

Our finance department continues to be a good steward of our tax dollars and this year alone the department won three awards for distinguished achievement in government finance. The city’s current financial position is good: We have low debt and a balanced budget of $31,000,000, but in the longer term our fixed tax rate may erode our ability to provide essential services.

West Linn is a rather small city and cooperation with surrounding jurisdictions is imperative to the livability of the city and to keeping taxes low.

We are currently working with the county on 39 acres of the Blue Heron property, which is on the river in the Willamette area. This property has considerable potential for a variety of uses and in the future, the county will achieve efficiencies in waste water management from a small portion of the property and those improvements will be reflected in lower utility bills for our residents.

The industrial areas around the arch bridge and the Willamette Falls are changing. Oregon City is working on a plan for its side of the river, and West Linn is represented in that process.

During our centennial year we applied to Metro for a $220,000 grant to begin planning the next 100 years for the West Linn side of the river around the arch bridge. West Linn’s reputation with other governments made us a longshot to win the grant. But a new West Linn is emerging and we won the grant, and this year staff will be working with citizens on what the future West Linn will look like.

Well-maintained streets are essential for our community, and our streets are gradually declining due to the level of funding that has been available. Late last year, the council consulted with our public works director and determined the increase in street maintenance fees required to bring our streets up to the condition where future maintenance would be at least cost. Public works will have a priority list of streets to be maintained and if your street needs work, you should be able to find it on that list.

I would like to thank all of you who volunteered your time to help West Linn in everything from committees to Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

In 2014 we continue our program to develop knowledgeable and dedicated leaders for our city by holding our second Leadership Academy. I have often said we need younger leaders so this year we will conduct a parallel Leadership Academy for students only.

The council is setting goals for the year 2014, which we hope will be another year of solid achievement that will help keep West Linn one of the best places to live for the next 100 years.

Mayor John Kovash lives in West Linn.

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