Few things hold such promise as the dawning of a new year. When the calendar turns to January 1, we shake off the old year and look to the new with a sense of optimism; all that we want to achieve in the next 12 months is as doable as any of the best laid plans.

Schools, governments and business generally have their own new year without benefit of the calendar. The school year begins anew each September; governments operate on a fiscal year that start in July or October; and businesses can choose to begin their year whenver they wish.

At the end of each year media outlets compile lists of the top stories and events of the previous 12 months, scrapbooking the year into neat little boxes and stories. We feel it is more important to look forward to what may be and what could be coming. The past is the past, all that man can do is learn from it.

Looking forward, Keizer residents and voters will have a busy year in 2018. The first election, for Measaure 101, is on January 23 when voters will be asked to retain the Oregon legislature’s temporary tax on hospitals, insurance companies and a few other groups to make up for a Medicaid funding shortfall in order to keep low-income Oregonians insured. Keizer and Oregon residents are like those in every other part of the nation—no one wants their taxes to increase or their health insurance premiums to go up.  Measure 101 could result in that.

In May voters will pass judgement on the $620 million bond for the proposed Long-Range Facilities Plan for Salem-Keizer School District. The Long-Range Facilities Plan is aimed at meeting schools’ long term needs in areas such as capacity and building safety.

The May election is also a primary for state and county offices.

In November’s general election, the city of Keizer will be voting on its mayor and three councilors.

It may seem like a lot of election ballots to peruse throughout the year, but the election results will shape the way we live here in Keizer. That is true especially regarding the growth of Keizer; there is a very good chance that the councilors who are serving starting in January 2019 will have a big say in whether or not our Urban Growth Boundary will be expanded.

The future belongs to those that plan for it. It is easy to conclude that 2018 will be a big year for Keizer. The opening of the Waremart grocery store at Creekside Shopping Center will herald a revitalization of that faded retail development. Keizer households have been counting the days until Keizer’s second grocery store opens its doors and offers prices that budget-minded consumers want.

The addition of a cinema at Keizer Station will bring entertainment choices to the city that residents have been clamoring for years, especially after Keizer Cinema closed in the 1990s.

The new year promises to be very good for Keizer and its residents. We have the amenities we need: streets, sewers, parks and schools. A former Keizer mayor used to say when it comes to spending money on public projects it comes down to ‘must-have’ and ‘like-to-have.’ If there is no money available after paying for the ‘must haves,’ then it falls on the city’s private and philantropic organizations to work on the ‘like to haves.’ A good example of that is Keizer’s public art program, led by the Keizer Chamber Foundation.

A case can be made that Keizer has what it needs. If nothing was added or changed, most Keizerites would be happy with the status quo. That’s a good situation for those who want to retain Keizer’s quaint atmosphere.

Just as many wildlife animals are deep in hibernation until the thaws of spring, we humans will also hunker down in January and February, recuperate from the hectic holidays, recharge and get ready to attack life with gusto again come March. There is high school to graduate, colleges to apply to; many will seek new employment or buy a new house.

As we turn the calendar to a new year, each person will remember the good in the past, overlook the bad while planning and hoping for a year of personal prosperity for themselves and achievement for their school-age children. It’s a promise the calendar makes to us and a promise we have to work at to make happen.

  —LAZ