The city will begin drawing up a budget for the next two years soon. The current budget period, which ends June 30, was the source of considerable division among Citizen Budget Committee members and the City Council, and figured prominently in council elections last fall.
Disputes centered on council decisions to increase taxes and fees to pay for new city expenditures, including adding police officers. Citizen Budget Committee members complained that they were kept in the dark about key details of city spending, and were not consulted before the council voted to add police officers without specifying a funding source.
Ashlanders who are concerned about the budget and want to make their wishes known should plan to attend a listening session starting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7, in Carpenter Hall, 15 S. Pioneer St. next to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival box office.
The session runs until 7:30 p.m., and those attending may arrive anytime between 5:30 and 6:45.
Attendees will have the opportunity to talk to city councilors and staff members one-on-one about the city’s goals for the two-year budget cycle. Councilors and staff will meet later and finalize the goals in February.
Can’t make it to the Monday session? You can still make your voice heard by completing an online survey. The survey will be open until Jan. 14.
If city spending decisions are important to you, weigh in before the decisions are made rather than complaining after the fact.