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City councilors weigh in on variety of topics inside remodeled King City Hall

COURIER PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - King City Mayor Ken Gibson cuts the ribbon at the newly remodeled King City Hall on June 19.Not only were citizens of King City able to witness the grand opening of the sparkling, remodeled City Hall on June 19, they were also treated to the annual State of the City address. Members of the King City Council were on hand to update citizens on progress the city is making.

Mayor Ken Gibson opened the program by thanking his team.

"We are proud of some of the things that we're doing," he said. "We have a team that's determined to make King City the best it can be — a team that can disagree and still not feel offended, in any kind of way. We don't argue, we just talk things through."

One topic was finance. According to council member Gretchen Buehner, "King City is in a good financial position and wants to maintain its fiscal position. To do this, the council recently adopted a conservative budget maintaining current services, but limiting projects out of the general fund and recognizing there are going to be reductions in revenues due to the fact that we're built out.

"We aren't going to have building fees, development fees, any things like that coming in, until we're ready to go to develop out in our new area."

Jaimie Fender talked about "fun" things in King City when it was her turn to address the overflow crowd.

"We have a very active Lions Club here in King City that has a monthly bingo game," Fender said. "They have frequent pancake breakfasts and a wonderful holiday bazaar — Deer Creek Elementary School has a very active parent's service organization. They put on annual events (which include a jog-a-thon, auction, a couple of book fairs and a carnival)."

Fender noted the King City Golf Course is also active in the community.

Discussing the King City Community Foundation, Fender said, "The foundation has the mission to bring cohesion and a sense of community to King City. We achieve that mission through city-wide events — King City is a vibrant and diverse city. We have opportunities to bridge the age gap, if you will. There is a lot to look forward to in the future."

King City Community Park is another fun attraction in the town, and to help illustrate the area's generosity and fund-raising ability, Fender introduced John Hanna, of Southside Soccer Club in Tigard, who presented the city with a $10,000 check to improve the park.

Police Chief Ernie Happala brought up a police levy measure that will soon come before voters.

COURIER PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - King City Council members dedicated a remodeled City Hall on June 19. They include, from left, Smart Ocholi, Micah Paulsen, Mayor Ken Gibson, Jaimie Fender, Gretchen Buehner and David Platt. Not pictured is Councilor John Boylston."The revenues generated from the current levy have not kept up with general inflation," Happala said in a video presentation. "As the price of everyday equipment such as uniforms, fleet, fuel and maintenance increase, those costs have risen steadily over the past 10 years. In an effort to meet those needs, and to provide service at current levels, we're asking for your help. We're having discussions in the city about priorities and demands for King City over the next five years." 

The audience also got an update on the projected growth of King City, mostly due to the expansion of Metro's urban growth boundary. City Manager Mike Weston addressed the challenges ahead.

"With the annexation of the Highlands, we're sitting now at about 4,200 to 4,600 hundred people, population-wise," Weston told the June get-together. "We are completely out of buildable lands. As we look ahead to the future, we identified where our opportunities for growth were."

Environmental challenges are ahead as well.

"We are not without some challenges," Weston pointed out. "We do have some natural resource areas out there that we have to go across and have to work around. We are going to continue to do that as we go through and, hopefully, we're working with those environmental groups to make sure that we preserve those lands as best as possible."

Weston estimates that in 15 to 20 years, King City will have a population of about 10,000 to 11,000 people, perhaps more.

Gibson wrapped up the State of the City address with a "call to action" to get more King City residents interested in city affairs.

Speaking to the city as a whole, Gibson said, "We all live in King City. We are all volunteering our time to make this city the best it can be. But the reality is that we can't do it without you. We need more citizen participation. We need for you to be involved — we also need for the city and the residents to decide what kind of community we really want to be."


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