A Few Minutes with the Mayor – December 2016/January 2017
Another Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. For me, this one was special because I owe so very many people a big “thank you” for their support and their vote in this past election. What was especially heart-warming were the letters to the editor of the Jacksonville Review… members of the community from every social element… from members of the City Council to Britt Music Festival to the Chamber of Commerce and more. There was even a letter from someone who remembered when I stepped in and authorized a sandwich board in front of her establishment.
Then there was the support of the publisher of this paper. To him I owe an extra debt of gratitude. It was he who printed all those letters which in their own way told the story of my administration.
Again… A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL.
I must admit I’m glad it wasn’t a nail biter or a close horserace. My nails are too short now and I read where W.C. Fields once cautioned, “Remember, Lady Godiva put all she had on a horse and she lost her shirt!” Thankfully, the first election results that came in looked good enough that a crowd of us, gathered at Boomtown, gave a shout and any tension there may have been, left the room early that night.
So… where do we go from here? I can promise you it will be a busy four years. Here are just a few items or tasks awaiting our attention.
Disaster preparedness. Our city core is vital; without it there is no Jacksonville. We need to develop some plan that could minimize the effects of an earthquake. One would be to devise a strategy permitting the City to warn building owners of any existing structural faults.
With the growing population in Applegate, and with the noticeably increased transportation from the marijuana farms, traffic density will not improve on California Street. This necessitates pulling a small group together to study future transportation issues, and devise, together with ODOT, what solutions may be available.
Adopt a plan for the 2nd floor of City Hall and finish construction.
The long-awaited Jacksonville Community Center is tantalizingly close to raising the full amount of money needed not only to begin but to complete the project. This Center will be the biggest single and most positive downtown addition in years. Wherever the City can help expedite, and wherever private citizens can assist, both financially and in other ways, the Center needs to come to fruition.
The Budget Committee has been considering different options to solve the increasing shortfall between the money in our General Fund and the money needed to run the Police Department. A lot of you heard about a “meals tax.” In my re-election campaign I promised I would not support any such idea. We are not Ashland where they support sales taxes and that is what a meals tax is.
Jacksonville’s City staff is perhaps the finest in this entire Valley. Some will be retiring in the not-too-distant future and it is essential we adopt a transition plan in order to maintain the quality and level of service for our citizens.
We need to expand our Urban Growth Boundary. This requires much work and lots of time because of state regulations restricting growth if the population density is not at a certain level. We are an historic city and not one where we plop down three, four and five story buildings willy-nilly here and there. Yet it really is time to expand. Expansion will enlarge the much-needed tax base without negatively affecting the quality or character of the City.
And that is just some of the issues to address.
Here is one more thought with which to leave you from John Wayne, who said…
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. It comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.
And now let me say in closing:
HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS
And THE HAPPIEST OF NEW YEARS
AND MAY THE LORD GOD BLESS AND GUIDE US IN THE YEAR AHEAD