Ensure Fiscal Responsibility
Did You Know…The number of people employed by the City increased rapidly from 2004 to 2012? The increase was faster than the population grew. When the new City Council took office in 2013 they were handed a City staff that totaled almost 362 employees. Employees have declined to 345 for the current year (2016-2017). But the reduction trend has stalled. Much of the reduction in the past year was from the LOT Water Project which is winding down.
Despite these reductions, personnel costs are up 16% in the last five years; yet Full Time Equivalent employees are down two percent.
Did You Know… Lake Oswego has much more staff than other comparable cities. Look at the number of employees per one thousand population.
At 9.39, Lake Oswego is 54 percent above the average! While there are some differences in services provided among the cities, Lake Oswego is certainly costing its citizens a lot more than other cities.
And now the City has to deal with increasing PERS costs estimated at $1.3 million.
The average City employee now costs over $131,000 annually including salary and all benefits. The benefit cost is now over 70 percent of salary. Most private corporations benefit costs are half of the City’s.
Why Is This Important?
Staff levels cost tax dollars! Yes, only fees for water and other things allow the City to make up the difference. The current Council has, since 2013, begun the task of reducing City costs. If these important trends are to continue, we must elect fiscally responsible people to the Council this year to deal with City cost issues and work to hold our taxes down.
Staff is important but so are our tax dollars!
Lake Oswego Tigard Water Partnership
Did you know…that the Inter-Government Agreement for the Lake Oswego Tigard Water Partnership (LOTWP) was signed in 2008, under Mayor Judie Hammerstad, with an original cost estimate of $90 million, which ballooned to $250 million during Mayor Jack Hoffman’s administration?
In November 2012, Lake Oswego elected a more fiscally responsible majority to the City Council. While exiting the very costly project was an obvious solution, the original inter-governmental agreement signed during Mayor Hammerstad’s term contained very expensive penalties preventing Lake Oswego from exiting the agreement.
In 2013, Mayor Kent Studebaker and the new Council did renegotiate the cost sharing agreement to reduce the Lake Oswego capital cost by $20 million by reducing Lake Oswego’s share of the water.
City staff now estimate the total cost of LOTWP at $260 million–as reflected in your water bills.
Why Is This Important?
The costs of this very expensive project were put in place by previous City Councils and are now hitting citizens’ water bills. The efforts of the current City Council have served to slightly reduce projected on-going cost increases but it is the decisions of past administrations that have left citizens with huge water bills to cover the costs of this super-sized water plant.
Continuing to elect candidates who are truly fiscally responsible will be important to the future of the City. Beware of candidates and their supporters who claim they want Lake Oswego to be “affordable” for young families and seniors on fixed incomes yet support costly projects that pose a direct threat to affordability.
Let’s Continue the Work We Started…
With three open council seats, this November is a critical election for ensuring that the work we started in 2012 continues.