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Lakeside City Hall

Lakeside City Hall

LAKESIDE — There's a bit more in room and marijuana tax money for the city coffers for the 2018-2019 proposed budget. 

The total proposed budget for this coming fiscal year comes to $407,200, a slight increase from the $407,015 of last year.

"It's marginally changed," City Administrator Curt Kelling said in an interview. "We get a little bit more in transient tax and a little bit more in marijuana tax this year."

To clarify some, he said the city won't receive as much this year because this last fiscal year the city budget got $9,000 from the state from its marijuana merchant.

Committee members approved the budget with a slight change in a line item wording from recreational vehicle tax revenue to transient room tax, based on a recommendation from committee member Elaine Anderson. 

Kelling said Lakeside has one marijuana indoor grow operation. 

"No public contact," he said "It's completely wholesale. It's not a store." 

This business has been operating roughly two years and is in a commercial area just north of the railroad tracks on Eighth Street.

Kelling said a separate merchant applied and was granted a conditional use permit to operate a recreational and medical marijuana business. The merchant's still waiting to get approval from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. If the merchant gets a go-ahead from state personnel, the business would be open on Highway 101. 

Larger financial issues

The greater significance for services to residents is that whether they want law enforcement, code abatement, more city planning or what have you, the city still operates with no tax base. 

Instead, city operations are paid through various means, including RV park user fees, alcohol and cigarette taxes and garbage and electric fees. In a previous interview, Kelling explained that city employees then split residents' electrical fees between the general and street funds. Money for street funds pays for street lights. 

Kelling said discussions of a law enforcement fee have gone nowhere and that the council hasn't made a decision as of May 7. This last November, a measure was on the ballot that would have paid for sheriff's deputy patrols plus other services. Lakeside voters soundly defeated that measure. 

Over time, Kelling has encouraged city councilors to not simply look at law enforcement needs but also for additional  planning. The city administrator said it seems sometimes citizens see direct results better than behind the scenes planning. 

"People like what they can see," he said, adding that "so much of it is planning and concepts." 

Citizens, regardless of what community they're from, may think planning is "just boring."

This marks Kelling's fifth year with the city of Lakeside. 

Budget committee members met May 8 to consider the proposed budget, before it heads to the council for its consideration and approval on June 21 at 7 p.m.

A fiscal year starts July 1 and wraps up June 30 of the following year. 

Shirley Janssen has served on the city budget committee more than two years. 

In a phone interview, she said Lakeside faces several critical needs. 

"Of course the city of Lakeside doesn't have enough funds to operate," said Janssen, who's lived in the community since January 2000. "We need an abatement officer real bad. We need street and sidewalk improvements. So those are some things I would like to see come into the budget." 

Specifically, Janssen and others have urged councilors to get a code abatement officer. Others in the community think the town must have a police presence and that code abatement should take less of a priority.

Janssen didn't mince words, saying there's a dire need for an abatement officer "and the economy doesn't help it. We have too many people parking in motor homes. It's absolutely a necessity."

The city has to have money for an officer too. 

"We're desperate for law enforcement," Janssen said. The North County Citizens Patrol, an all-volunteer group, provides the eyes and ears for the Coos County Sheriff's Office, she said but cannot enforce law. 

"We have a deputy who is a liaison to the organization but there is no deputy on for the city," the budget committee member said. 

Livability troubles aren't limited to crime either. There's also the matter of streets. 

"We have people walking the streets and no sidewalks," Janssen said, adding that because there's a lack of sidewalks, "it's not a safe situation." 

The Umpqua Post Editor Shelby Case can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 296 or shelby.case@theworldlink.com.

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Umpqua Post Editor