Lincoln City Mayor Dick Anderson gave a somewhat upbeat view of the State of the City Tuesday, telling the Chamber of Commerce that much was accomplished in 2012 but there is more yet to do in 2013. He said despite the continued sluggish economy, those who make an effort can make big improvements in their own lives as well as contributing to the overall health and well being of the city. He praised Lincoln City’s first responders; North Lincoln Fire Rescue, Lincoln City Police and their many volunteers who make excellent emergency services available to Lincoln City and to its neighbors.
Mayor Anderson said that the city’s revenue picture is bright, but it may take a while to get there. He said although the city will be saving money by refinancing utility bonds and the successful completion of urban renewal projects, the big challenge will be the proposed annexation of Roads End into the city. The annexation will add more revenue to the city’s general fund without raising taxes on the rest of the city. Anderson and the council have said often that Roads End residents are enjoying urban services from next door Lincoln City without having to pay for them. Annexation, he says, will change that, although it will be a bumpy process involving administrative challenges to state land use law, the courts, and ultimately to the state legislature. But in the end, he predicts, Roads End will become part of the Lincoln City family.
Mayor Anderson also heralded the city’s expansion of video outreach to Lincoln City residents (and the world), not only with delayed broadcasts of city council and planning commission meetings on local cable tv, but also by the recent addition of LIVE internet broadcast of those same two groups on the Internet which can be viewed 24/7 immediately after the live broadcast concludes. He said hundreds of viewers watch the city council and planning commission every time they appear on the air and on the Internet.
Mayor Anderson said that Lincoln City’s recreation programs are healthy and serving hundreds of Lincoln City youngsters – 370 of them recently learning how to swim at the recreation center. Hundreds more participate in indoor soccer.
Attracting tourists continues to be the prime directive for the Lincoln City Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB). The VCB this week showed the council how social media like Facebook is becoming a primary magnet to draw more visitors to Lincoln City with verifiable results. To that end Mayor Anderson reported that gross hotel/motel room occupancy rates rose just under 6% in 2012 – no small fete in the middle of the country’s worst economic slow down since the Great Depression.
Also coming to somewhat of a culmination will be council-adopted regulations to keep Vacation Rental Dwellings even more of a tax revenue asset to the city while making them better neighbors to everyone around them.
Mayor Anderson also touted the beginning of real progress at upgrading the Nelscott Gap along Highway 101 to SW 32nd. He said 2013 will be the year the upgrade will be designed – then the next two years for actually building it. Mayor Anderson said the city is still working with Lincoln County officials to raise the level of East Devils Lake Road to enhance migrating fish and other water depended wildlife; working with the Siletz Tribe to upgrade the intersections at 101 and East Devils Lake Road and the Neotsu post over. Mayor also re-emphasized addressing the town’s crosswalk challenge, launching a septic tank replacement program for a number of homes on the west shore of Devils Lake.
Although Anderson made it a point to express his dismay that Lincoln City (if not the whole Centreal Coast) is an island of high gas prices compared to the rest of the state. Anderson said he’s a supporter of America’s Free Market, but that something must be done to stop the wild spikes in the prices we pay for gasoline.
And finally, some predictions for 2013 from Mayor Anderson. He said the nation’s economy is healing, although rather slowly. He told the audience that 2013 will not be a boom year that leads the country out of our long term economic slowdown. He called on business leaders to not wait to do something good on a big scale. He said visitors to Lincoln City need to see the town’s buildings come to life via upgraded maintenance as has been seen at Imprints and the Rocking Horse Antique Store. Mayor implored hotel/motel and other hospitality business men and women to welcome our tourists with smiles and top notch customer service.
Anderson concluded by saying, “It is often in times of great uncertainty that weaknesses emerge and threaten the future of a community. But it is the strength of a community that is on display as those weaknesses are corrected. Keep calm and carry on!…I believe better days are head for Lincoln City!”