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Citizen's View: Setting the record straight about the past four years

After reading Dave Berg’s Citizen’s View (“Did the ‘promise’ of the 2012 LO election ever marterialize,” May 12), I’d like to set the record straight on a few items. While well-written, the article does not accurately portray what has happened over the past four years.

The Lake Oswego City Council led by Mayor Kent Studebaker has worked tirelessly to deliver on all goals we set forth while running for office. Given the word limitation of this column, it’s tough to flush out in great detail every criticism that was thrown at us by Mr. Berg, but I would like to address a few of the points that misrepresent what has been achieved by the current council and mayor while in office.

Mr. Berg infers that too many dollars of taxpayer money are being spent. “My view is that there is more fiscal responsibility,” he wrote, “but the ‘tax-and-spend’ mentality still dominates our local government.” Since 2013, the council has focused on priorities citizens wanted and reduced the debt inherited from the previous administration by $17 million. Mr. Berg sits on the Citizens Budget Committee; he should be aware that actions taken by the council will need time to come to fruition.

The Budget Committee is one of many aspects that help the council to effectively plan for the long term. While their efforts are appreciated, it is the assistance of all committees, guided by Mayor Studebaker, that have turned ideas into actions that benefit Lake Oswego.

“Water rates continue to skyrocket,” Berg claims. It is true that water rates substantially increased three years ago because of the sale of bonds to pay for the Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Project. This was agreed upon by the previous mayor and council. Since taking office, Mayor Studebaker and the City Council were able reach an agreement that Tigard would share the debt. Without the merger, Lake Oswego would have had to increase rates; instead, Mayor Studebaker was able to stabilize them. It is this kind of effective leadership that has driven fiscal responsibility.

I’d like to refute the point Mr. Berg makes in stating that the “council promoted high-density development using your taxpayer funds.” There have been no increases in density using tax dollars. I assume Mr. Berg’s objection to the Wizer development has led to this particular inference. The City did invest $5 million for 135 public parking spaces in the Block 137 development.

The City Council and Mayor Studebaker have to think responsibly of the future of the city; this includes forward thinking regarding infrastructure, development and city planning.

I am proud to serve on the Lake Oswego City Council under the leadership of Mayor Kent Studebaker. I have raised my family in Lake Oswego, I work in Lake Oswego and I enjoy living in Lake Oswego. Mayor Studebaker embodies everything that the city needs to continue to thrive.

Skip O’Neill is a member of the Lake Oswego City Council. He has announced that he will seek re-election to the office in November.