Lincoln City swears in three city councilors – says goodbye to one, hires a new city attorney and gets a report card on the city’s economic health
The Lincoln City City Council welcomed back two returning city councilors who ran unopposed in the last election, and one former city councilor who also ran unopposed in the last election. Incumbent councilors Roger Sprague and Chester Noreikis were sworn in for another four year term, as was former city councilor from some years back Wes Ryan was was sworn in for his four year term.
Outgoing City Councilor Alex Ward, who decided to spend more time on his business said he enjoyed his time on the council but that it was time to step aside. Former City Councilor Wes Ryan ran for his seat unopposed. Mayor Dick Anderson presented Ward with a nice plaque and a hearty handshake, thanking Ward for his service to the council and for a job well done on behalf of the citizens of Lincoln City.
The city council will be tackling what may become a bruising legal battle with some residents of the Roads End area who do not want to be annexed into the city and see their property taxes rise. Those residents have already appealed the city’s intent to annex to the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA). If either side is unhappy with the decision made by LUBA they can appeal to the State Court of Appeals, and then to the State Supreme Court. A final ruling in such land use disputes comes pretty quickly due to it being a land use issue. Land use rulings usually happen a lot faster than average civil litigation cases.
The council will also be monitoring the city’s new biking and hiking trail project. They’ll be looking for funding for the ambitious plan that was recently adopted by the council. The council will also be trying to attract more tourists to town, something that has been rather flat over the past few years thanks to the worst recession in over eighty years.
And the city will be dealing with water and sewer issues as always, still trying to match up and line up pipes from the disparate communities that melded together decades ago to form one city, Lincoln City. They all had their own unique approaches to underground utilities.
And of course there is the Highway 101 upgrade through the Nelscott area to improve traffic flow and improve the look of businesses through that corridor.
The Lincoln City City Council also said hello to a new city attorney hired by City Manager David Hawker. Hawker offered the job to former Ashland City Attorney Richard Appicello.
Appicello joined the city of Ashland in 2006 as an Assistant City Attorney and was promoted to City Attorney in 2007. He served in that position until late 2010. Appicello will start as Lincoln City’s new in-house City Attorney later this month.
Meanwhile, outgoing City Attorney Joan Kelsey is still working part time for Lincoln City to smooth the transition and to provide legal assistance in the city’s looming legal battle with some residents of Roads End who do not want to be annexed into Lincoln City. The case is now before the Land Use Board of Appeals.
City Manager David Hawker gave the city council a brief snap shot of various economic indicators for Lincoln City since the onslaught of the now 5 year deep recession. Hawker showed a number of graphs that charted the city’s bumpy ride through the slow down. Gross hotel/motel room receipts, although down, have not been down too terribly much except for lost growth. Room receipts have remained largely flat from 2007 through 2012; averaging $4 million in 2007, $3.9 million in 2008, $3.8 million in 2009, $3.8 million in 2010, $3.9 million in 2011 and back up to $4 million in 2012.
Hawker said retail sales for essential (non-luxury) consumer products were flat from the beginning of the recession but then started a delayed fall off in 2010, bottomed out in 2011 but then started back up in 2012.
Another gauge of economic activity is new construction. As the Building Activity graph shows, commercial and residential construction was booming in late 2007 and early 2008 at around a rate of four million dollars a year,, but when the recession hit, both fell like a rock down to around one million, both for new construction and remodeling. The graph shows that there was what looked like a recovery kicking in in early 2011 at around two million dollars worth but the activity quickly subsided in late 2011 and for the rest of 2012.
Another economic indicator of Lincoln City’s general economic condition is revealed in trash pickup In 2007, just before the recession, combined garbage, recycling and wood waste peaked in late 2007 at 2,500 tons a year. It all began to fall off rather rapidly through 2008 and 2009, bottoming out in 2010 at around 1,700 tons a year. It began to rise again very slowly in 2011 and picked up a little bit in 2012 and is maintaining an upward crawl.
And lastly, taking a look at Lincoln County’s unemployment rate from the beginning of the recession to the present day, joblessness shot upward in late 2008 to a high of 10%+ and stayed there through 2011, then has since started falling in step with the rest of Oregon and the nation’s unemployment rate.
On another subject, the city’s recently adopted hiking and bicycling plan is now into its implementation phase, however long a process that might take. But the city council Monday night assigned those duties to the city’s Sustainability Committee. The committee has been used in the past for various tasks and is being re-activated to carry out the plan. There are four vacancies on that committee for which the city is now entertaining applications from townspeople who would like to be part of pursuing those hiking and biking goals. To apply for membership on the committee contact Lincoln City Clerk-Recorder Cathy Steere at 541-996-1203 or to file an electronic application just click here.