New city manager looking forward to challenge
Jacque Betz will officially take the helm in June, but plans to start projects immediately
Although she expects it to be a challenge, Jacque Betz is confident taking over the reins as Newberg city manager is something she is prepared for.
As I (come) to Newberg, which is a community that is two and a half times the population of Florence, Im very excited about it, Betz said. It was a really difficult decision because I dont really have a reason to leave Florence. I have really good, strong relationship with the community, elected officials and my staff, but what attracted me to Newberg was the opportunity to come into a bigger city.
I felt like this would be just a really good (opportunity) for me to branch out in city government and go into a new community to see if I can help form positive relationships and help solve problems that all cities have right now because of the economy.
At 44, Betz isnt married and doesnt have any children, so she said she has a lot of energy.
I think that can be a downside, too, because I dont want to be burned out, she said.
As a marathon runner, running metaphors seem to come naturally. Its not a sprint, she said. As a marathon runner, you pace yourself and are in it for the long run.
Betz spent the last 14 years working in Florence, moving her way up from the assistant to the police chief to city management. Shes been the communitys city manager for the past two and a half years and said the experience has prepared her to take over in Newberg.
She added that there are some projects that need addressed immediately, primarily tackling the city budget.
Its about trying to match our service levels with the revenue realities, Betz said. I think that is where Newberg is at.
One of her first goals is to work with city staff to develop a long-range financial plan, including five-year revenue projections.
So that we can better look at what cuts need to be made with regard to services we provide and expenses, she said. We have to prioritize what the priorities are to people in the community. I know public safety is one of them, and you have a fantastic library. For me, its going to be about forming new partnerships and trying to be more stable and creating more of a business-friendly environment so that people want to come and open a new business in Newberg or expand on whats there currently.
Betz said she believes in orderly growth and thinks there are opportunities to expand on that in Newberg. But shes also looking for public input.
Sometimes I think its better for a city manager to come in and have a fresh look without any preconceived notions. I like to engage people and not make decisions in a vacuum, she said. It was very appealing that there was lot of people in the community panel (during final interviews), a lot of people in the department head panel. There is a lot of good quality in the Newberg community.
She said she looks forward to getting started come June.
Since I gave notice (in Florence) people are very disappointed that Im leaving. Thats really humbles me, Betz said. But I also know Im going to carry that forward to Newberg and know that Im going to have my work cut out for me, but Im actually very excited about it.