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With our City largely built out and our future population growth limited, ask yourself, do we need more parks and facilities?

As you may have read or heard, we will shortly receive our ballots to vote in a Special Election May 19 on whether the City should issue $30 million of new bonds to fund the purchase of open space/park land and building new recreational facilities. The rationale being pitched to citizens is that a similar amount of bonds are maturing in the near future and therefore, no increase in our taxes.

Before you consider whether to support these new bonds, you may want to ask:

1. When did I last have an opportunity to reduce my taxes?

2. How are the funds going to be used? Does the laundry list of projects on the City website represent real needs, or wants of small groups of citizens and our City administration?

3. Why aren't these major recreational projects disclosed more openly by the City Council and City administration as supportive materials before we vote? Or will the City and council decide after they have the funds to disclose their priorities?

4. Will it be a new swimming pool, tennis center, upgraded golf course, bike paths, open park land, ball fields or a large administrative center with a gym and classrooms?

5. Check out a map of our existing facilities https://www.ci.oswego.or.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/parksrec/cityprojects/13445/lo_parksplan2025_adopted_073112_high.pdf Pages 2-32 to 2-37

With our City largely built out and our future population growth limited, ask yourself, do we need more parks and facilities?

6. Are there opportunities to share existing school and church facilities in our community for our recreational needs and avoid the acquisition of more facilities?

7. Are we maintaining existing tennis courts, golf course, ball fields, parking lots in good condition? Or, are we budget-restrained to provide sufficient maintenance funds?

8. Are our parks destined to suffer the same poorly-maintained fate as those in Portland, which faces a $6.5 million maintenance shortfall?

In addition to the new debt being requested, the City and we taxpayers are facing budget changes in projects approved or on the horizon (such as the new City Hall and just-completed D Avenue). These never-ending debt increases coupled with a City operating budget under severe pressure from PERS increases, will continue to strain our family budgets.

Peter Sweet is a Lake Oswego resident.


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