Council: Cuts inevitable in long term

By Kelly Ducote, The Observer January 28, 2014 10:13 am

The La Grande City Council voiced frustration with the state government during its annual Council Retreat Monday night.

In discussing short-term and long-term budget plans, the councilors noted that shifting funds around won't stop the inevitable: deep cuts.

"There's no solution to this unless something happens at the (state) level," Councilor Gary Lillard said.

There was disagreement, however, over what to do in the mean time. Some councilors advocated trying to maintain current services, while others suggested taking action now.

"Like they say in Washington, D.C., 'Just kicking the can down the road,'" said Councilor John Bozarth.

Others said the council would be simply putting Band-Aids on the problems regardless of whether they take action in the next fiscal year to cut services.

The city council and staff also discussed the possibility of under levying the Urban Renewal District. Some councilors said they were not opposed to the idea. City Manager Robert Strope said it would be possible to use the money from the under levy to free up time for Community and Economic Development Director Charlie Mitchell to use on non-Urban Renewal District items. Mitchell suggested the move would be better for the next fiscal year, because marketing on the new large-lot industrial property will be under way by then.

The city council will continue discussions at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at City Hall. 

Read more in Wednesday's edition of The Observer