Management Transition at City
The City of Florence is going to be under new management soon. The previous occupant of the City Manager’s office, Jacque Betz, wrapped up work yesterday. She has worked for Florence for 15 years; the last 2 ½ in the top position. Unlike most changes in municipal management and administration, the departure has not been a forced one.
200 – “I am headed out the door feeling very confident and good about the way things are being left here. Florence, as it compares to other cities in the state of Oregon, is in very good fiscal condition.”
Indeed, Betz credits elected officials and what she calls an “awesome” staff with helping to place Florence on sound financial footing.
But, she adds, it’s not all perfect.
201 – “There are some issues regarding our streets that we’re trying to address, but overall Florence has been very prudent with how they’ve spent their dollars and so for me, that’s very satisfying leaving the city in such good financial condition.”
In fact, the City Council approved a proposal by staff to proceed with a gas tax referral to voters in the fall. It would raise an estimated $5-million over 20 years to fund several street renovations and repairs. The council will decide on a specific ballot title in July.
One of the financial issues facing the City of Florence over the past few years has been just how to pay for the final two years of mortgage payments on the Florence Events Center.
That’s been rectified.
The Lane County Board of Commissioners agreed this week to provide Florence with $196-thousand over the next two years to help pay off the final two annual payments. The balance is just over $300-thousand and city officials had asked the county to consider helping them out. Just in case, though, the city had committed to making the full payments.
The shortfall came about after Florence, half way through repayment of the original 20-year construction bond, opted to refinance for a lower interest rate. Lane County had initially agreed to make the 20-annual payments using room tax money, but there was a gap between that original commitment and the new, longer term.
Lane County will provide the city with $98-thousand each year over the next two years, giving the city not only assistance in paying the debt, but also time to come up with a way to help fund operations at the center that runs at an operational deficit.
A new principal will be at the helm of the Siuslaw High School Viking ship this fall.
The current principal, Matt Henry, is leaving this month to take over as the superintendent of schools in Gervais, a small community northeast of Salem.
Kerry Tatum will assume the duties of principal beginning in July. Tatum has been Vice Principal since last year.
There will be an all-new administrative lineup at the high school in the fall. The process to recruit and hire a new VP is currently underway. And, with the retirement of Steve Meyers, the Athletic Director duties will be taken over by Jeromy Graybill.