By Thomas Aschenbrener, Manzanita City Councilor
There is a real community in Manzanita and we are at our best when we openly share information and listen to each other. We will always have those few who insist that only their views count, but community leadership is about evolving and advancing the common good for today and the future, based on facts and professional input as well as individual opinions.
Twelve years ago, we purchased a cabin in Manzanita. Like many second home owners, we began spending more and more time here and became more engaged with our community. Last April, I responded to a call for applications to city council and subsequently was invited to join the council to fill an unexpired term.
As a new council member, I embrace the city’s long term goal of building new city administrative facilities, combining police, emergency hub administration and public works management into a single building.
For more than 13 years, the city council documented the deterioration of our administrative buildings, assessed the possibilities of renovation versus new buildings, and looked for new facilities. An overriding concern is to ensure the city is ready to meet the needs of the current population and our visitors in case of disaster. All of the functions of our police, our administrative staff and our public works support not only the ongoing daily operations of the city but are an essential part of the emergency hub where a city-directed incident commander will be stationed. The EVC (Emergency Volunteer Corps) conducts volunteer training. When there is a disaster, it is the city that must activate those trained volunteers and coordinate their emergency work for our community, including safety, water, shelter and food, and emergency medical care, not the EVC.
In the past decade there have been many opportunities for public input. These opportunities will continue through the construction planning phase of the project. All decisions were made by the council based on these meetings, the findings of experts and listening to staff needs. The goal is to provide for the future of our community with a facility that our community will be proud of building to serve future generations. Also one that supports our current staff and residents.
The November 5, 2019 ballot measure to authorize the city to sell bonds for construction of a new administrative facility is one step for our community to work together for our future. We have reached the critical point where existing facilities must be replaced.
We are pleased that our funding discussions with bond managers has contained the cost impact of this construction bond. It is estimated at 50¢ (or less) per thousand of ASSESSED value of a property. For most of us this will be less than $200 per year.
Keep in mind that the bonds will not be sold until fall of 2020. The bond rate or interest is very low and the council has committed to only selling enough bonds to cover the costs associated with construction of the new facility. The council has reserved the right to pay off the bond early. This will save us interest charges if we are able to do so.
Voting for a public administrative hub will help ensure that our community thrives well into the future.