The Toledo City Council is back up to full strength again. Local businesswoman and life-long resident of Toledo became the town’s newest city councilor as she was sworn in by Toledo Clerk-Recorder Nancy Bryant. A rather exuberant Michele Johnson took her oath of office and happily took her seat on the dais with the others. Each councilor (Dunaway and Lynn were absent) congratulated her and thanked her for applying for the seat vacated by former councilor Mark Camara. Camara took a natural resources job in New Zealand.
Johnson told News Lincoln County that she was born and raised in Toledo, and has always loved the town. She said she has considerable energy to give to the position. Johnson said she has admired the new direction the city has taken over the few years. She said things have really been looking up for Toledo and she wants to do her part in making it even better. She said she’s been involved with Toledo’s Main Street program and other local civic and service activities.
Johnson will serve out her abbreviated term of office through December 31, 2014. Sometime in 2014 she’ll have to decide whether she wants to keep the job, and if so, seek election in her own right, campaigning to win a full four year term by winning in the November 2014 general election.
Besides making an investment in her time and talent on the city council, Johnson is also investing in her own new business called Busy Bee Scrapbooking. She said it’s going to be opening in the recently shuttered Chef’s Place restaurant on Business 20, half way up the hill behind City Hall. She said Busy Bee will ride the wave of scrapbooking’s latest trends; celebrating life and memories. Johnson says her considerable expertise in graphic design and composition will enable newbies to scrapbooking to quickly master proper technique so they can quickly can get the look they want, as well as helping more experienced scrapbookers reach new levels of personal artistry and creativity as they convey their life stories. She said Busy Bee Scrapbooking will be opening within a couple of weeks.
But now, as a city councilor, Johnson will have her talents for creativity and art form taken out on frequent hard runs as Toledo, like all other cities in Oregon (if not across the country), must get creative as it manages how to pay for what public services are already provided during a time of stagnant or only marginally growing revenues. She’ll likely get her first exposure to how the community thinks City Hall is doing when the council conducts a public town hall meeting at City Hall June 11th. It begins at 6:30pm and any and everyone is invited to attend. Then, the next night, June 12th, she’ll take part in one of the regularly scheduled city council work shops. Typically that’s where “the rubber meets the road” on issues facing the city, not least of which is meeting the challenges of pulling the town’s sewer and water systems back from the brink.