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Day: May 28, 2010

Disillusioned by budget process

To the Editor:

One of the three components of Keizer’s motto is volunteerism.  The city’s budget committee is taking this literally. They are volunteering the citizens of Keizer to pay additional fees to support an increase in city spending!

City Manager Chris Eppley’s recommended budget expects revenues to increase 1.8 percent from last year. The revenue increase is even larger if a sale of city real estate is included. Expenditures are expected to increase 9.6 percent. I am very disappointed in the lack of discipline and ability to make the difficult decisions needed to decrease city government spending in order to avoid an increase in service fees.

On the revenue side, I understand that the state law regarding impound fees changed and that NW Natural Gas changed its billing system. These changes resulted in a decrease in incoming revenues.  I also understand that the City will benefit from yet another 3% increase in property taxes in fiscal 2010-2011. The statutory increase is allowed even when property values decrease. A 3% increase from property tax revenues isn’t enough when spending is increasing at a faster rate than revenues. The City’s Budget Committee is looking for even more revenue by increasing licenses, fees, and service charges.

On the expenditure side, I am absolutely shocked at the arrogance of proposing a 9.6 percent increase in spending during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Sure, the expected service fee increase is only estimated to be $13.14 per residence. That isn’t the point. The point is that thebudget committee needs to make the tough decisions to decrease spending. I have lost confidence in the process: The police union voted to maintain their 2 percent salary increase and none of the officers were let go. City employees received salary increases last year and only a wage freeze this year. The Keizer Civic Center was over budget, it had the catering/kitchen issue, and the oversight of the retainage expense at the end of the project. The city has added positions over the past five years, e.g. assistant to the city manager.

This is  not a personal attack on any person or the city. I believe the people involved in this process are all well-meaning. I would ask that the city’s budget committee join the majority of businesses and families that have dealt with decreases in revenue by decreasing spending. If you are a citizen of Keizer and are happy with the status quo, watch Channel 23 on June 7th. If you are not happy, please come to the 7 p.m. public hearing when the City Council is scheduled to adopt the budget.

Phil Gerstner
Keizer

Patriotism exhibited during Iris parade

To the Editor:

What a refreshing and pleasant surprise I witnessed at the Keizer Iris Parade this year.

Being a part of the parade is one of the things I most enjoy each year and in the past I have had some unusual entries, such as a fire-shooting propeler truck and a boat-car.  This year my entry was a vintage World War II military vehicle on which was mounted an American flag.

As the parade progressed down River Road, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who stood, removed their hat and placed their hand over their heart, as the flag passed.  There were many elderly who would have struggled to stand but who honored their country and their flag with a smart salute or with hand over heart.  It was uplifting and made me proud of those patriots who still honor the American flag the way it should be honored.  To those proud Ameicans:  God bless you all.

Bob Gallagher
Keizer

Book sale helps Library continue

To the Editor:

Last week, the Keizer Community Library book sale at the Keizer Lions Club hall, raised $1,779.49!!  This is by far the most successful book sale fund raising event that the library has ever held.  For this success, I would like to thank the public for donating so many good books, puzzles, DVDs, books on tape, etc. and others for buying them.  And I extend my thanks to the press for providing important publicity and also to those who worked so hard transporting books, setting up tables and doing the many tasks related to a successful operation.

Finally, I would like to express gratitude to the library’s chief sponsor, the Keizer Lions Club, for year-round storage of book sale materials and a place to display and sell them.  Indeed, a number of Lions Club members helped with the sale itself.  Thank you so much!

The success of this book sale helps assure that the Keizer Community Library will be able to continue to serve the people of Keizer for yet another year!

Art Burr
Library Director
Keizer