Leaders layout city’s 2024 goals

In an effort to learn more about what  direction Keizer’s leaders want to take the city in, Keizertimes reached out to gather those aspirations.

We asked about the goals they have for the city in 2024, how they will achieve those goals, notable barriers to achieving them and why those goals are beneficial for the city.

Check out what Keizer’s various leaders and leading organizations have in store for the city in the coming year(s).

Keizer City Council 

Members include: Mayor Cathy Clark, Shaney Starr, Laura Reid, Robert Husseman, Dan Kohler, Kyle Juran, Soraida Cross

A copy of these goals can be found at keizeror.portal.civicclerk. com/event/316/files/agenda/356

What are your goals in 2024 for your organization?

Identifying simple methods of procurement

The council wants to streamline the purchasing done by the city. According to City Attorney Joseph Lindsay, the city’s current rules don’t not allow for the most advantageous procurement of resources based on pricing.

To fix this, Lindsay will create draft recommendations on various rules and prices for the council to consider as they develop new procurement contracts, which will be reviewed and discussed further at a future work session.

Adopting new changes to the Emergency Operations Plan

The city, according to City Manager Adam Brown, is in a much better state of preparedness in the case of a city-wide emergency than it has been in the past.

The city is currently in-line for a review of changes made by city staff to the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) as well as concurrent training for first responder’s preparedness.

Public Works director Bill Lawyer commented that when the last flood incident happened in 1996, the city managed to make it through, though it had no official plan. Since then, the development of these emergency plans is a boon as it puts Keizer in a stronger position in the case of an emergency due to a standardized process to follow, according to Lawyer.

Implement the city’s strategic plan into the next budget creation

This goal is expected to be integrated this year during future budget planning. Since the council’s Strategic Plan survey was made  available  to the public again, more citizen feedback has been gathered which has helped better define the goals for the city, according to Brown.

The council wants a financial forecast and budget breakdown of how this plan can be integrated. Mayor Cathy Clark asked city staff for a draft to be created to be discussed at a future work session.

Overhauling the city’s official website to be more mobile-friendly.

The Keizer City Hall’s website is currently in the process of updating to make it more mobile phone friendly as well as improve the site’s performance.

There have been a series of updates to the website already including, new imagery for the homepage  and  city  staff  have been reviewing whether to continue using the same vendor to service the website as has been used in the past.

What are your goals in 2024 for the city of Keizer?

The Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) Expansion

This goal deals with the areas designated as ideal for the city to expand into.

For Keizer, the council has options to expand the growth boundary, though none in particular were noted by the council at the time.

The council will gather leaders from Keizer, Salem as well as Marion and Polk counties to outline potential issues in expansions and conduct a vote between the governments.

Other options include state legislative action such as current bill, SB 1537, which allows a city to expand the growth boundary as long as 30% of housing built in the expansion area is “affordable,” meaning that housing is affordable for those making up to 80% of Oregon’s median family income or $45,250 in Marion County.

Implementing a city-wide camera system

The council wants to install a camera system in three main places: in city parks, body and dashboard cameras for the Keizer Police as well as license plate recognition (LPR) cameras on the exits of 11 different streets which leave the city. The city has one quote for camera installa- tion that Brown detailed as “pricey” and is waiting on another quote.

Quotes the City has received so far for camera systems are around $500,000 not including the power needed for the system as well as annual  follow-on  maintenance costs.

Pricing for the entire system includes up to $500,000 for parks and city exits and around $75,000 for body and dash cams provided the Keizer Police receive a grant to help pay for it to decrease the cost.

Powering the cameras may also prove a challenge as new mounts will be needed, further increasing the cost.

A workaround for this deals with accessing power from the city of Salem for the cameras. If tenable pricing cannot be found, the city may have to reduce the scale of how many cameras are placed as well as where they are placed.

Police Chief Andrew Copeland described the importance of the camera system in helping find potential suspects. It was also noted by Copeland that

The Keizer Police department has only four body cameras in the department to share amongst the entire department.

Creating a development plan for the River Road/Cherry Avenue Overlay

Council priorities for this goal revolve around developing a series of redevelopment incentives to attract more businesses though, to do this, more financing opportunities are needed to fund said incentives. Redevelopment is anticipated to happen in the River Road/Cherry Avenue overlay.

The city’s strategic plan has several specific items in Goal two in order to provide guidance for continuing to improve the area as well as improve the transportation layout.

Implementing the results from the Walkable Mixed Use Areas into city planning

The study for the Walkable Mixed Use Areas was completed last year and the planning on how to incorporate those results has begun. The walkable mixed use area study deals with ensuring that new developments in the most populated areas of Oregon are built with walkable areas in mind.

Implementation of the changes is expected to begin in 2024 with the Oregon Council of Governments (COG) aiding in the creation of tailored legal language for specific codes that will be implemented. Public outreach meetings are planned for a future council meeting.

Updating the city’s Transportation System Plan

City staff has been working with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) about the process needed to perform updates to the city’s transportation system plan as well as regarding what the proper scope of the plan should be.

The current plan is considered more prescriptive than past updates due to Climate Friendly Equitable Communities (CFEC) rules in place as well as the organization being better funded. The updates to the transportation plan are expected to be started in the near future and take anywhere between 18-24 months to complete.

Repairing the city’s sidewalks

The council will begin a project to repair the sidewalks within Keizer that will be funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money. The council and staff are currently creating a list of what sidewalks are priority to be repaired or put in.

The total price for the project is unknown though Assistant City Manager Tim Wood noted that a budget of $650,000 has been allocated for it.

The program to repair or put in sidewalks will supersede any storm- water projects the city anticipates enacting, according to the council. Councilor Robert Husseman noted that taxation and funding to per- form sidewalk repairs should be drawn from the property owners rather than renters of a property.

Adopt the Community Center’s policies

The new fees previously approved by the council have been adopted at the Keizer Event Center. No changes have been made to how the center operates nor the number of staff there as of yet.

An update to the marketing media files used by the center has been conducted as well so as to better advertise the center to potential outside vendors.

The council made a note that while customers from outside the city are welcome the center should still maintain a focus on Keizer-centric events.

Wood noted that funding for the advertising section needs to be increased to better advertise the center. The baseline increase is $10,000, according to Wood. Wood noted that the sign for the center will be changed to “Event Center” later this year.

Finishing the Keizer Rapids Artificial Turf Project

The contract for this project was awarded in Dec. 2023.

According to Brown, around $1 million is still needed to fund the project including building parking and an equipment building.

Possible funding solutions include community fundraising as well as appropriating legislative funding for the project.

Another measure would be to apply for a grant from Oregon’s Parks and Recreation Department for funding to build the bathrooms needed.

Brown noted that if experts or businesses wanted to volunteer or donate services they are more than welcome to help. Husseman asked if Chemeketa Community College or other schools in the area had been approached to see if they wanted to utilize the field for practice or other sports events.

Brown described how multiple city groups such as the Rugby Club and McNary High School have been interested in using the field.

Draft code updates

This goal is a continuance of the process of reviewing draft code sections between Shannon Johnson   and the city vendor’s legal counsel.

Johnson is also in the process of transferring his current projects over to new Keizer City Attorney Joseph Lindsay.

Johnson is still awaiting on a longtime-colleague who is an expert code attorney to review the draft codes and provide feedback.

This work on updating the various  code  updates  is  an encapsulation of more than 40 years of reviews, changes and updates to Keizer law and codes that will finally come to fruition.

This project has been spear-headed by Johnson and according to Councilor Dan Kohler, “could not have been completed without his expertise.”

Implementing the Agenda Management System

This goal represents a system that would help streamline city staff’s online operations, their email automation as well as helping man- age any online meetings the council and other staff conduct.

This system also helps the coun- cil and staff maintain transparency as well as improve access to the public due to the online and upfront nature of how these messages are made public.

The council’s other goal is to create an automatic email subscription  for  citizens  to  stay informed about what is happening on the council, with signups found online on the city’s webpage and social media accounts.

Councilor Soraida Cross asked if the system and the automated messages it creates are in Spanish, to which city staff responded that they are not.

Updating the Human Resources Information System (HRIS)

As the first attempt to attract an appropriate resource vendor failed,  another attempt will be made though Brown is awaiting a review from the city attorney of the Request for Proposal (RFP).

The goal is to simplify the vendor request so future resource procurement for the city is done in a more efficient manner.

Updating the city’s social media policy

The city council is updating the social media policy for city staff. This involves updating policies to reflect those of the League of Oregon Cities (LOC).

Brown attended a meeting with LOC and learned that for city officials and staff, any actions on their social media within their official capacity act as public record.

To that end, the city of Keizer is updating social media policies to reflect these changes and ensure employees conduct themselves  in  an  appropriate manner while on social media. The changes are  expected  to occur this coming March.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for your organization/ the city in 2024?

The largest challenges from these goals appear to revolve around finding funding such as for the Keizer Rapids turf field as well as ensuring that the proper legislation is followed such as SB 1537 for the UGB expansion.

What are the plans to achieve these goals?

At the Jan. 22 city council work session, the council briefly laid out how they would attempt to achieve their goals through fundraising, legislative action as well as trying to highlight the new amenities to those outside Keizer, such as with the Keizer Event Center.

Representing an effort to bring in more revenue sources such as inviting sports teams to use the field as well as the marketing done to make the Keizer Event Center more widely known and available.

How will your stated  goal improve the city of Keizer or help its citizens?

Overall, these goals appear to provide a number of benefits such as citizen safety with the installation of more cameras, gaining more money and space for the city through expanding the UGB, improving city health and safety with the installation and repair of more sidewalks as well as lowering the cost of resources and improving transparency.

Achieving these goals would mean Keizer could expand, invite more citizens and businesses  as well  as  incur more money from the various entities that decide to build there.

Other goals, such as repairing the city’s sidewalks present advantages in that it will help increase foot traffic in more areas of the city as well as help increase the health and safety of walkers.

Keizer Fire District

Chief Ryan Russell

Keizer Fire District chief Ryan Russell

What are the goals in 2024 for your organization?

The Keizer Fire District’s (KFD) goal every year is to protect lives, property and the environment through quality emergency response and community involvement.

This year we will continue to respond to emergency situations within our district, support our neighboring fire agencies, train for newer types of emergencies such as electric vehicle fires and be involved in the community through safety education events.

The Keizer Fire District is constantly striving to provide the best possible service to our community. What are the goals in 2024 for KFD?

To respond to all calls for service in an efficient, kind professional manner. Increase staffing to better respond to the increased emergencies. Be more involved in our community. Continue to be financially responsible and accountable to the citizens we serve.

What are the plans to achieve these goals? 

In November 2023 a five year operating levy was passed. These funds will help us increase staffing to better respond to the needs of the citizens of the Keizer Fire District.

To be more involved with our community we are offering various classes including Hands Only CPR, emergency preparedness, fire safety and more.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for your organization in 2024?

In November 2023, an operating levy was passed by the citizens. This funding will help increase staffing; however, it’s not permanent. The funding is only good for five years and then we need to ask for additional funding again.

With the ever growing and aging population of Keizer, the need for emergency services is on the rise. Our calls for service increased 6% last year and our staff is struggling to keep up with the calls for service. While the five year levy will help, it’s not a long term solution.

Keizer Police Chief Andrew Copeland

Keizer Police Department

Chief Andrew Copeland

What are the goals in 2024 for your organization?

We are currently down three officers, so we had to re-organize a couple of departments.

The main goal for the police department is to work with the City Finance director, Tim Wood, the City Manager, Adam Brown and the council to get the funding to be fully staffed again.

The other listed organizational goals cover increasing the department’s social media presence as well as attending more community events. Another goal involves training officers in “various topics and disciplines” as the better trained the officers are, the better they can serve the community in all situations.

What are the plans to achieve these goals?

To use data and analytics to allocate and deploy resources. Our Community Response Unit is responsible for identifying the top five people and the top five locations we respond to each month. We then meet and deploy resources to solve those problems.

We have numerous conversations throughout the month to monitor our progress.

We also have an amazing event center and training coordinator who is going to work with outside organizations to bring in the best training available.

We need to hire a social media manager, but we don’t have the funding at this time. If we solve the funding issue, we will hire someone.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for your organization/the city in 2024?

Funding. The City of Keizer has one of the lowest, if not the lowest, tax rate in the state at $2.08 per $1,000.

Another issue revolves around dealing with people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. We are having numerous conversations with other organizations so we can provide options for our officers.

We also have Marion County’s Community Outreach Response Team respond as much as possible.

Dealing with people experiencing homelessness. We want to ensure Keizer remains safe and clean. With a reduction in staff, we will do our best to continue to bring the same level of service to the city.

Follow the rise in youth gang activity. Over the past two years, we have seen a rise in graffiti, assaults, and other criminal activity associated with gangs.

Dealing with traffic related concerns. We frequently hear of people complaining of speeding traffic in neighborhoods. We only have two traffic officers to allocate to neighborhoods, respond to parking violations and crashes and numerous other traffic related issues.

How will your stated goal improve the city of Keizer or help its citizens?

Keizer residents need to know that we do our best to pay attention to the most prevalent crimes and criminals in the city and deploy resources daily to deal with those crimes.

The Keizer police will continue to work with other city staff (code enforcement and public works) to ensure the city is safe and clean.

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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