City of Kelso
City of Longview
By Mayor David Futcher
By City Councilman Ken Botero
Kelso's finances are healthy
Why do I want to live there?
We were recently presented with a summary of 2017 that gives the community an interesting picture of the city’s financial standing. Okay, “interesting” is relative. I’m an accountant by day, so this stuff is illogically exciting to me.
Why do people, especially talented creative people, who have an abundance of choices, opt to live in certain places? What draws people to some places and not other places?
Overall, Kelso is in a very solid financial position. For 2017, our revenues came in stronger than expected, and we didn’t spend as much money as we’d planned. The combination of these items left us with what we’d call in the private sector a profit. I noted at the meeting that this profit has been declining over the last three years, so it’s time to slow down our spending. We have excellent finance staff and a city manager that take a very conservative approach to budgeting at the city, so that we don’t commit ourselves to spend more than we can be assured we’ll have. And after having been through the recession, we have focused on building a cushion to help us through future downturns. We shoot to have about two months of expenses in reserves, and at the end of last year, our general fund balance is roughly twice that target. I believe the role of government should not be to tax its people to simply build up huge bank accounts, but we should establish reasonable operating reserves. Once those have been funded, any excesses should be used to reduce taxes or to provide additional services or capital investment. Personally, I have a tendency to prefer one-time type expenses over using the funds for recurring expenses like expanding staff, because we’re not sure that future years will provide the same financial results, and we want to be able to commit to new staff positions for more than this year.
Locally Owned, Family Owned and Here to Stay! Offering the best in quality and selection.
Generally speaking, people think of quality of place as providing three key dimensions: ➢ What’s there? The combination of the built environment along with the natural environment, a stimulating, appealing setting for the pursuit of creative lives. ➢ Who lives there? Diverse people of all ethnicities, nationalities, religions and sexual orientations, interacting and providing clear cues that this is a community where anyone can fit in and make a difference. ➢ What’s going on? The activity of the street life, restaurant culture, arts, music and the presence of people in the community engaging in many outdoor activities. If you are one of those many talented and creative people looking for that quality of place, we invite you to tour the jewel of southwest Washington where you will find those interrelated set of experiences. When we look for the built environment and the natural environment we need only to look around the community and notice the beautiful Lake Sacajawea as you enter the City of Longview and the wonderful variety of trees that provide for the honor of being classified a Tree City USA. Look around at the surrounding green hills and valleys along the mighty Columbia River. While enjoying the beautiful atmosphere notice how willingly the community work together. No matter what nationality, religion, or sexual orientation you may play in your life, Longview, can be that quality of place. Look at the positive, beautiful and exciting activities from the downtown core with all of its historic buildings including the famous Columbia Theatre. There’s the fantastic street activity with places like the Broadway Gallery and community theater at Stageworks Northwest. There is also the excitement on our Lower Columbia College campus with its concerts, plays and sports, including our LCC championship baseball team as well as our Black Bears summer baseball team. There are also an abundance of walking, running and bicycling activities provided by our Longview Parks and Recreation Department, which do an outstanding job of maintaining the many neighborhood parks in the community. At the center of the community you will find history aplenty around RA Long Park and Civic Circle with the historic Monticello Hotel, the post office and the Longview library with its authentic Shay locomotive.
1413 Commerce Ave.
6 | Kelso Longview Business Connection | July 2018
So, if you are looking to join the many talented and creative people in finding a quality of place, stop and visit Longview with its many attributes and small businesses that make memories.
July 2018 Newsletter of the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce