Mayor Brian Hodson: State of the City 2014
Last year I stood up here in front of you all nervous, anxious, excited, optimistic, hopeful, and full of faith. This year I stand here with a little less nervousness and anxiety, and with more excitement and optimism. I am more hopeful and more faithful for what lay ahead this year.
This past year, much of the focus of the councils discussions was on the evolving plan of the library. Throughout our meetings on the library, we weathered the resignation of one of our councilors, appointing of new Councilor, Todd Rocha, and the resignation of our library director. Even with these significant changes, our focus was still on planning and ratifying a viable plan that would include a library.
Your Council and city staff responded to this change in the plan and immediately went to work on an option for Third Avenue. This option would be utilizing the land of the existing library and the properties located behind it. This would enable the library to: grow; combine city services with the library into one building, reduce expenses and the citys footprint downtown; and in turn open downtown up for more development in the near future.
Within the last couple of weeks even this plan has been put through its paces. Myself and the Council received word just before Christmas that we could not come to an agreement, at this time, with all the property owners. Undeterred, the Council, your Council rallied. I was back on the phone with City Manager Greg Ellis about visiting another possibility, Councilor (Clint) Coleman and I met within days where he shared additional ideas he had and as did Councilor Rocha. We will be going over these ideas in a work session at our Urban Renewal Agency meeting. We still see this as a goal for Canby to achieve.
As part of this discussion and in a historical move, the Council made the decision to go to the voters this spring seeking an affirmative vote asking you, the voters, if Urban Renewal District funds should be used for civic buildings – like we did for the new police station. The library plan has always included a plan to renovate city hall and city staff work space. The latest evolution would be a new civic building that would include consolidating city staff and a new library. I am confident that the Council and I will develop a compelling plan and explanation for the voters of Canby to vote for utilizing the already bonded money on a civic building in our downtown core that will house city offices and new library.
There were a number of successes this year and exciting things that were implemented.
On the economic development side for our city, we have seen some real positive activity:
· Cascade Engineering, an aerospace contract manufacturer is moving in now bringing in 35 skilled jobs and future growth plans;
In the early part of 2013, industry clusters with strength in Canby were identified. Two business summits with business owners were held to better understand issues and opportunities, and ways to help them grow. In July, I hosted, along with Economic Develop Department Manager Renate Mengleberg, and various people representing support from the county, the metals manufacturing cluster. In November, a second summit was held with leaders from the construction, energy and telecommunications industry. In each of these summits a number of things were identified that we as a city can do to assist with growth in these clusters. In these summit's, jobs and the lack of qualified applicants for open positions was discussed, as were needs for transportation to and from Canby.
Almost every business at each of the summit meetings are hiring. And both of these issues were elevated to Congressman Kurt Schrader in a meeting with him while he was home for Christmas break from Washington, D.C. He assured me that those are priorities of his and his peers across the aisle. Thank you to KHC Inc, Nick Netter Construction, Canby Tel Com, Pioneer Pump, Wilson Construction, Ulven Forging and several others for taking the time to give us feedback.
One tactic we built on this year for the manufacturing cluster was another tour day during Manufacturing Month. The city and school district partnered with a number of manufacturing businesses in Canby to provide tours of these businesses. The idea is to give Canby High School students a look at manufacturing as it is today and to show that there are well paying jobs in manufacturing right here in Canby.
In addition to the summits, our Economic Development office and the Chamber partnered on a series of forums. Three Canby Industrial Forums were held to share best practices with local manufacturers. Topics included effective supply chain management, product and process innovation and managing safety. Thank you to Johnson Controls, SR Smith and American Steel, which graciously hosted those meetings.
Following in the steps of Clackamas County, Canby now has an official film and video program. As the Pacific Northwest has become a popular destination for film crews, Canby has been working on creating a database of locations for filming. The first commercial taking part in the program was filmed this past fall. A pilot show for the music reality show Indie Backroads was filmed here at Place to Be Café, and a film and production company is looking to locate in Canby.
Canby Main Street Program continues to be successful and growing -- with events like the new "Kiss the Summer Goodbye" party at Wait Park, Canby's Spooktactular Village and Parade and Light Up the Night.
First Friday continues to be a draw and bring people downtown. This year the city has waved the fee for downtown businesses to be involved with First Friday events. Our goal is to encourage more businesses to take advantage and be a part of First Friday. This month'shs First Friday had Ms. Adeline's, Place To Be Café, Red Door Antiques, Wallflowers, Backstop Bar and Grill, The Closet Club, Pudding River Chocolates and Wine Bar, and Rounders involved. Other businesses that have been involved this past year have been Ebner'srs Meats, Countryside Living, Brandon Chase's Edward Jones Office and Matt Olsen'sns State Farm office to name a few.
Also under the Main Street umbrella was the creation of a historic review board and that received a grant to highlight Canby's historic buildings and conduct in-depth analysis on three significant buildings in our community. Right from the start, Committee members were instrumental in protecting one of three historic homes from demolition.
Our economic development remains a high priority. As you just heard there are many things under way in Canby. The success of our business community enables us to fund city services.
From a budget perspective we have continued to hold the line during the recession. Health Care costs and PERS remain a large part of our budget now and in the foreseeable future. Our new Finance Director, Haley Fish, and her team have been busy this past year and will continue to be the next couple of years. To maintain services and meet our obligations, over the last several years we had to draw down our reserves. This is an unsustainable path. With Oregon moving out of the recession we need to rebuild those reserves and continue to work with tight financial numbers. With our current budget we were able to:
Public Safety and Canby's livability play a key role in how we develop as a community. On the Canby Police Department front we have seen the use of our Police Station expand. With a number of community events and city meetings in the community room, and training sessions within our own department and other agencies, our new facility is being well utilized.
Chief Smith and his team continue to utilize, through an overtime grant, the GREAT Program. The Gang Reduction Education and Training program is brought into the schools with the goal of reducing crime, violence, and gang involvement all the while building relationships between law enforcement, families and youth to create a safer Canby. Our department with partnership from Canby School district, continue to be committed to having a School Resource Officer at Canby High School. Other goals achieved this year were the implementation of a Citizens Academy, a new electronic ticketing system, the department received equipment that will aid in computer forensic work to crack passcodes and retrieve key evidence in investigations; implemented RAPID which is a database tracker designed for secondhand stores, Pawn Shops and metal recycling dealer transactions.
Top priority for the Department and for council in the coming years will be filling officer vacancies, and replacing aging technology and other equipment that are crucial to public safety.
In addition to the Police Department successes in public safety the council implemented the Traffic Pedestrian Safety Commission. They have been tasked to look at traffic issues around our city, work with city staff on those issues, and make recommendations to the City Council.
Another success for Canby has been the awarding of State Transportation Improvement dollars to Canby for pedestrian improvements to S. Ivy and signal improvements at the intersection of S. Ivy and Township Rd. This project which will begin in 2015 includes $1.7M from the state of Oregon. This came about because of hard work by Sr. Planner Matilda Deas and constant pressure by members of the council, the School District, Canby Adult Center, County Commissioners, and many of you in the public.
What does this year and coming years hold in store for us as a city? From 2000 to 2010 Canbys population grew by 3,039 people or 8% of Clackamas Countys total growth. Based on the Population forecast Canby is forecasted to grow to 26,730 by the year 2032. That is an average growth of 2.3% if this holds true. We have seen this coming and have been preparing for this.
We have seen already what that will mean by way of new home construction. New home starts in Canby hit a low of 4 in 2010, 9 in 2011, 18 new home permits in 2012, and 38 new home permits in 2013. There are additional residential subdivisions proposed that will see activity this year. Northwood Estates Phase II containing 33 lots; a 39 lot phase addition to Dinsmore Estates; and additional developments on North Pine and South Ivy.
Further Master Planning is will be occurring for North Redwood and NE Canby. We are having a number of requests about annexing property again, which means Planning is working on a Buildable Lands Needs Study. This will help us to determine what can be annexed, where, and when based on the population growth.
Additionally, there are a number of items that are being addressed:
As mentioned earlier the Council acting as the Urban Renewal Agency will be finalizing plans for the Civic Building at the early part of the year.
We will see the Arts and Cultural Advisory Alliance begin work this year to enhance the arts here in Canby.
Canbys first Dog Park is close to finishing the design phase. Approval of the design will be moving forward for community input and council approval this year.
Planning and Building Departments will be busy this year as they: review certain code aspects that are spread out in various sections and bring them together in a more cohesive and understandable fashion. Also they, along with the Planning Commission, will be reviewing our landscape code and floor area requirements as it pertains to building in our downtown commercial zone.
I have begun conversation with city staff about how we can further leverage resources to attract businesses not just to the industrial park but to all of Canby.
Council and Staff will be working to fine tune our priorities based on the City Visioning Plan.
Northwood Woods Estates has the finishing touches in place for the childrens climbing features and gazebo in Northwoods Park. A restroom facility will be installed later this year and the large open area was specifically left intact for a variety of activities for nearby residents.
As I finish this afternoon, know that your city is on a solid foundation and that we are committed to keeping Canby strong and cautiously moving forward.
Changes will be occurring this year as we see changes in leadership positions in our city. We are moving into the final stages of selecting a new library director for which we had over 20 people apply for the position. We will begin the search for a new City Administrator, as Greg Ellis has announced his retirement. Though Canby Fire District is not a direct department of the city, they will be selecting a new Chief, as Fire District Chief Ted Kunze will also be retiring this year.
Change is constant and it can be sudden. We all deal with change differently and in our own unique ways. I have said it during my campaign and will say it again now – Canby is going to go through changes some small and some monumental. There is pent up demand for what a city like ours has to offer - a sense of community, a sense of belonging, our small town feel. It will be up to everybody in this audience, those that watch this at home, or read this in the news - to be involved in our community, to be a part of the conversation AND part of getting the plan accomplished. Create the plan, work the plan, and prepare for course corrections. It will take all us of to keep Canby a great place to live, work, and play. I am willing, are each of you?
Thank you all for your time and efforts to make Canby a great community everyday. God Bless and may 2014 bring numerous blessings to all of you.