Saturday, January 31, 2015

Guest Editorial

                                          By Jerry Norcia

 

I can’t help but wonder what I would do if tasked with making our City better.  Some of the decisions of  past city administrations, whether well conceived or not, have left us with situations that we must live with.  Specifically, in hindsight, did Creswell need a massive city hall, or a water treatment plant that would support a city of 25,000, five times our actual population.  A right-sized city hall and water treatment plant obviously would have cost a great deal less.  Additionally, users keep paying for the water treatment plant through higher water rates.

 

So, what can be done after the fact?  I suggest we learn from our mistakes and cut costs now and invest more prudently going forward.  We should be investing in ways that encourage businesses to come to Creswell.  Here are 4 ways:

 

1) Greatly reduce our exceptionally burdensome City Development Code.  This obviously adds troublesome hurdles and costs to potential business owners and is a disincentive to invest here.

2) Make our airport a money making proposition for our city and businesses.  We should change the policies and attitudes that are preventing potential business owners from investing in airport related businesses.  It seems there is talk of bringing water and sewer to the airport.  Doing this could cost millions of dollars.  Wouldn’t a well and septic system do just fine for that size area for a fraction of the cost? 

3) Invest in keeping up with ODOT transportation requirements.

4) If small business is the backbone of our country, why not give new small businesses some kind of a tax break for a period of time?  This is routinely done in Enterprise Zones throughout the country for large companies, why not the little guy?  

 

In looking around Creswell, you can see people struggling to make a living along with the many empty store fronts in downtown and near the old Ray's area.  Why not entice people to come here to go into business, since businesses hire employees, who then spend money in other businesses in town?

 

Perhaps we should look for and elect people with business experience to run Creswell.  Business minded people know what would make Creswell attractive for investment.  Also, if we had people with business experience running the city, we wouldn't need to continue hiring "consultants" to help us decide things.  We hired a consultant to compare how other Oregon airports are being managed and how they make money.  Nothing was done with the findings.  Previously we hired a consultant to decide if skydiving was safe at the airport.  The consultant chosen had no skydiving experience nor airport experience, and was only hired for political reasons in any case.  After hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, AND a $50,000 settlement, the skydivers are back on the airport. 

 

It appears now that the city is going to pay for yet another consultant to decide for us if we would be better off having our own police department or to continue to pay the sheriff's department for our protection.  You would think that our own business minded people have the ability to look into costs and other considerations without hiring an outsider.  In fact, we have already had several people do research on this idea. Why not let our own people make decisions?  Once again, the bottom line is this, we need to cut costs where we can and invest where there are huge payoffs.  Consultants are too often a political tool, whose advice is less valid than our own.

 

As far as cutting costs, Creswell for Affordable Water is focused on that.  While it may appear that the idea of putting it on the ballot is to give the people a vote on whether or not to make needed repairs to the water supply system, that is not the primary reason.  It is intended to make our city leaders look for ways to cut costs FIRST before asking the citizens for more money than the amount allowed by the increasing CPI.  It would keep the voters involved and aware when the city takes the easy route by charging users more money and not looking for other ways to save that money. 

 

Our councilors are very nice and dedicated people.  Let’s encourage them to get serious about cutting cost, helping existing businesses, and providing an environment that attracts new businesses.  We would all benefit.  Creswell has great potential, let's not waste it.

 

I would like to end with a quote from Colin Powell,

"Leadership is solving problems. The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."

 

 

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