McMinnville Mayor Norman Rone has announced he will run for re-election this year, as well as launch a new campaign called “Let’s Get Moving.”
“When I left office in 2000, we had an ending budget of $1 million,” said Rone. “Four years ago, the city was facing a financial deficit and I made the decision to run for office again. Through good stewardship and responsible board action, we have been able to turn that around. However, there is still more work to be done.”
Four years ago, the city was facing a $1.3 million shortfall. The city ended its last fiscal year with positive cash on hand of over $3.2 million.
“This fiscal year ending in June looks to be as good,” said Rone. “With continued good financial management, we will be able to address some of the many issues and projects that have been talked about for years.”
With an improved financial situation, Rone wants to launch a Let’s Get Moving campaign. The push will be in three areas.
First, the city’s administrator has been directed by Rone to prepare the budget for next fiscal year with a 19-cent tax decrease. Rone says taxes were increased out of necessity the past three years, but the city’s current financial situation warrants a decrease.
“Citizens paid the tax when the city needed it and now it is time to give it back to the taxpayers,” Rone said.
Being one member of a seven-member board means Rone will have to get majority support on lowering the tax rate, which he believes he has.
“I do believe the board will support me on the tax decrease,” Rone said.
Leading to the decrease in need was the city’s successful litigation against the county over local option sales tax. Beginning in September, $80,000 will be returned each year and compounded annually for the next 25 years.
By the end of 25 year phase-in agreement, the city will be receiving its full share of the local option sales taxes totaling more than $2 million annually by today’s current revenue figures. During the 25 years, the city will collect approximately $25 million.
Second, Rone says he wants to look toward industrial development to create jobs within the city of McMinnville.
“I will be meeting with the city attorney and the Industrial Development Board to acquire industrial sites within the city to create jobs,” Rone said. “There are several sites available with the necessary infrastructure and utilities to market as viable sites.”
Along with some tax revenue going toward the endeavor, helping to foot the bill will be money the IDB is holding in reserve for industrial development inside the city limits.
While creating jobs took second on the list under lowering the tax rate, it will take first with Rone for the next four years.
“Creating jobs for our citizens is my most important priority for the city at this time,” said Rone. “It will be the central theme of my administration going forward. Everything else is secondary.”
Every year the city hosts a planning session with department directors to discuss immediate and future needs within each department. After reviewing all the material from the city’s last three planning sessions, Rone says part three will be to move on some of those.
“I have discussed with the city administrator and department heads projects that need to be moved along. We have talked for years about having facilities to provide recreation for our citizens, opportunities for job creation, needed public infrastructure such as resurfaced streets and new, as well as repaired, sidewalks. It is now time to get things moving.”
Over the next few weeks, Rone will be sharing with the board 10 capital projects he would like to see go from discussion to implementation.
“As you can see, I am very excited about the future of this city,” said Rone. “We, as a board, have been talking and studying projects for years. We finally are in good financial condition and it is now time for the board to stop talking about what we should do, or not do, and Let’s Get Moving.”