$8 million to spend

At a work session on Monday, Aug. 23, the Keizer City Council will discuss how to spend more than $8 million, the city’s share of American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds authorized by Congress last spring.

That $8 million is approximately one quarter of the city’s annual general budget. Depending on what is ultimately decided by the council, that money can do a lot of good for a lot of Keizer residents. 

We think the council should be very thoughtful in how to use that money. This is a once-in-a-lifetime financial windfall. There is no shortage of projects here in Keizer. Mayor Cathy Clark is a champion of regional collaboration, pooling Keizer’s ARPA funds with Marion County and surrounding cities to leverage much more than our $8 million can do alone.

If the council decides that the money should be spent in Keizer, it should consider all the options that would benefit the greatest number of city residents. That could include splitting the money between various departments—upgrades in the city’s many parks, equipment for the police department or sidewalks in neighboroods where there are none.

Interim City Manager Wes Hare broached the idea recently that the money could be used on the big projects such as at the Willow Lake Waste Treatment plant that would potentially give some fee relief.

Once the money is spent, it is gone. It would be best if residents were to benefit from the fruit of congressional largesse for the forseeable future. The Keizer city council has always been good stewards of money, we are confident they will make the best choices for the city, but they will not make any decision without input from the public.

How would you spend $8 million to benefit the greatest number of people? You will have your chance to voice your opinion before any council vote is taken.

      â€” LAZ