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Day: December 16, 2014

A look at how Keizer voted in November

2014-election-candidates

By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Oregon’s Measure 92 dealing with GMO labeling may be going through a recount, but it’s not because of Keizer voters.

While a razor-thin margin at the state level triggered a recount of the labeling measure, the margin was decisive in Keizer, a look at vote tallies shows.

The Keizertimes looked at the votes in precincts 401 to 408 – the Keizer precincts – for Measure 92, as well as Measure 91 (recreational marijuana), the governor’s race between Dennis Richardson and John Kitzhaber, the state senate 13th district race between Kim Thatcher and Ryan Howard, the state house representative District 25 race between Bill Post and Chuck Lee, plus the Keizer City Council No. 5 battle between Amy Ripp and Matt Chappell.

Out of 19,461 registered voters in Keizer, 13,370 (68.7 percent) voted on Measure 92. The measure failed by a wide margin in the city, with 8,188 votes (61.24 percent) against as compared to 5,182 votes (38.76 percent) for the measure, according to the tally on the Marion County Elections website.

Of the eight precincts in Keizer, only the tiny 408 precinct in the southeast corner voted for the measure, by a 43-26 margin.

In the seven other precincts, no votes outnumbered the yes votes by an average of 432 votes.

Measure 91 was approved in Oregon, but Keizer voted against making recreational marijuana legal. Of the 13,375 votes cast in Keizer there were 7,189 no votes (53.75 percent) versus 6,186 yes votes (46.25 percent).

The city was a little more split on Measure 91, most notably in precinct 405 where the ballot measure was approved by a margin of 606 votes to 603. Precinct 406 was slightly against the measure (1,199 votes versus 1,127 in favor), while precincts 407 and 408 voted for the measure. The largest difference came in precinct 401 (the north end of Keizer), with 1,349 no votes compared to 903 yes votes.

Keizer also went against the state total in the governor’s race. Out of the 13,019 ballots cast for that race in Keizer (representing 66.9 percent of registered voters), Dennis Richardson got 7,285 votes (55.96 percent) and John Kitzhaber got 5,009 votes (38.47 votes).

Since the majority of voters in state senate District 13 and state house District 25 reside in Keizer, it’s no surprise the local results reflect the overall results. Kim Thatcher took 7,933 of the 12,680 votes cast in Keizer (62.56 percent) for senate District 13, while Ryan Howard got 4,704 votes (37.1 percent). In the House District 25 race, Bill Post got 6,642 of the 12,656 votes cast in Keizer (52.48 percent) compared to 5,583 (44.11 percent) for Chuck Lee.

While three Keizer City Council seats and the mayor’s seat in Keizer were open, only the No. 5 council seat race was contested. Of the 19,461 registered voters, only 9,932 (51.04) percent of voters cast a ballot. Amy Ripp secured 6,576 votes (66.21 percent) compared to 3,253 (32.75 percent) for Matt Chappell. Aside from the small numbers in precinct 408, Ripp won each precinct by nearly 400 votes or more.

Cathy Clark won her uncontested mayoral race, with 8,559 of the 8,927 votes cast. There were 368 write-in votes. Roland Herrera got 8,446 of the 8,655 votes cast for the No. 4 council seat, with 209 write-in votes. Brandon Smith rejoins the council after getting 8,272 of the 8,438 votes cast for the No. 6 council seat. There were 166 write-in votes for that race.

Sewer and wastewater fees going up in January

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

Sewer rates are going up for Keizer residents.

The first of two increases will be effective Jan. 1, 2015. The second increase goes into effect one year later.

Susan Gahlsdorf, Finance director for Keizer, noted the city has agreed to adopt Salem’s wastewater service charges. Keizer contracts with Salem for the treatment of Keizer’s water.

“On average, customers will see a 1.5 to 2 percent increase in their sewer charges effective for bills dated on or after Feb. 1, 2015 and a 2.5 to 3 percent increase on their sewer charges effective for bills dated on or after Feb. 1, 2016,” Gahlsdorf said at the Dec. 1 Keizer City Council meeting. “This equates to a $5 annual increase in 2015 and a $9.70 annual increase in 2016 for the average residential customer.”

Gahlsdorf said the 2015 rate increase reflects a 1 percent decrease in the surcharge Salem has imposed in the past.

“In 2009 Salem agreed to eliminate the 7.5 percent surcharge by 1.5 percent the first year and 1 percent each year thereafter until the surcharge was eliminated,” Gahlsdorf said. “Beginning in 2015, the surcharge will be 1 percent and it will be eliminated beginning in 2016.”

Gahlsdorf further noted the city’s administrative fee on the utility bill has been a bi-monthly charge of $4.85 since 2006. That fee will now be $5.95, which is expected to bring in $33,000 in additional revenue for the current 2014-15 fiscal year.

Councilors unanimously approved the rate change without comment.

In other business Dec. 1:

• Councilor Jim Taylor is leaving the council and will be out of town next week, so the Dec. 1 meeting was his last full council meeting. As such Mayor Lore Christopher – who is also stepping down – gave Taylor a chance to give a grand speech.

Taylor didn’t deliver.

City recorder Tracy Davis had made cookies in the shape of fish for councilors to enjoy, appropriate given Taylor’s love for fishing.

“I thank Tracy for these cookies,” Taylor said. “My work is done here.”

Christopher was rather surprised by the brevity of the speech.

“That’s it?” she asked incredulously.

“That’s it,” Taylor confirmed.

Taylor later indicated he’ll give more of a speech at the Jan. 5 council meeting, when he formally leaves the council after 12 years of service. That might be a good thing, since his abbreviated farewell was met by a well-natured comment of “pathetic” by one person on the dais.

• Contracts for City Manager Chris Eppley and City Attorney Shannon Johnson were unanimously approved during the consent calendar portion of the meeting, with no comment from councilors.

For both men, their contracts allow for one-year extensions by written notice each year. Evaluations and pay discussion take place in late spring.

With the extensions, the contracts for both Eppley and Johnson now run through June 30, 2016.

As mentioned previously in the Keizertimes, both men got a 2.5 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase this year, as well as 3 percent merit raises for satisfactory performance reviews. That bumped Eppley’s annual compensation from $139,299.60 to $147,076.80 while Johnson got bumped from $126,360 to $133,390.44.