Local economy: Boom or bust in 2012?

Jobs are very slowly coming back to Salem, but what happens if more cuts to state and local government mean even more unemployed public sector workers?

On a positive note, the local business community saw several successful building projects and openings in 2011, including several big names at Keizer Station, new medical offices and upcoming retail on River Road.

Meanwhile, the city-wide call for sit-down restaurants continues.

Vote on the fire districts

The north Keizer electorate will be asked which fire district they want serving their neighborhood.While the battle will ostensibly be about whose ambulance is where when and which taxes could go up or down, we’ve been watching long enough to know just how personal the beef between Keizer Fire District and Marion County Fire District No. 1 has become.

The issue has also gotten the attention of state lawmakers.

What’s next at Area C?

Developers and city officials have not yet said what may come at the next portion of Keizer Station.The state’s land use board and appeals court have ruled the plan needs changes. Would those allow the project to be viable? And what role will Keep Keizer Livable have in the coming year?

City budget choices could be painful

Between millions of dollars in outstanding debt and rising costs on all sides, city of Keizer leaders may have painful choices to make next year.

Police Chief Marc Adams said it’s getting more difficult just to make sure shifts are covered. Parks could see decreased maintenance. It’s also possible there will be enough money around to stave off the hardest choices for another year.

Voters told the city in no uncertain terms to live within its means when they turned down a public safety fee by a four-to-one margin in November. Soon we’ll find out just what those means are.

New head coach at McNary football

The head coach of the McNary High School football program, Rick Ward, tendered his resignation in December after five years leading the Celtic gridders. The search for a new coach begins in January. We’ll be waiting to see who gets the nod and if he (or she?) can return the Celts to their former glory on the football field.