OP/ED: Questions about Manzanita City Hall Project; Request for Options

EDITOR’S NOTE: Randy Kugler sent a letter to all Manzanita residents detailing the year-long process he participated in as a member of the Manzanita City Hall Public Facility committee. He has asked questions about the process and requested that the City provide options for the planned city hall, and a community meeting about the process. The City Hall project is on the Wednesday May 8th Manzanita City Council agenda (7 pm). If you would like a copy of Mr. Kugler’s letter please email editor@tillamookcountypioneer.net for more information.

By Randy Kugler, member of Manzanita City Hall/Public Facility Committee Member
My letter to Manzanita citizens was intended to document a process and appeal to the Mayor and Council to offer citizen/taxpayers more rather than less viable options involving the development of the Underhill property. I asked questions that I believed needed to be asked and avoided making conclusions based on my opinion when facts offered a more reasoned course of action.

I believe that the Public Facility Committee members would agree that I contributed constructively to our year long investigation by offering candid assessments of ideas and working to find consensus where I disagreed on a particular matter. When necessary, I privately shared with the Mayor and Council President my concerns that I believed would have political ramifications if not effectively addressed as this process played out.

As I have stated, I welcome the City to point out what in my letter is inaccurate. Given the fact that this is the most expensive project to be totally funded by taxpayers in Manzanita’s history, why does the City Council believe it is beneficial to restrict presentation of options to citizens? Why does the Council eagerly reference their consultant’s recommendations when it supports their desired conclusions and dismiss the same consultants’ opinion when it might differ from that conclusion? Why do the Mayor and Council believe that an expensive property tax increase is more appealing than an option for development of safe and functional City facilities that could possibly be developed without additional property taxes?

I appreciate that my questions have caused tensions and made some individuals uncomfortable. I will take responsibility for shining a light on this matter but I will not apologize for what that light has revealed.