As I look out at the fall rains and watch the lake level receding, I can’t help but think about the cyclical nature of things. For some, the weather may send your attention elsewhere such as school or youth sports. Others may be waiting for ski slopes to open or planning trips to warmer climes. At the LOC we take this time to finalize plans and budgets for the upcoming year so that we can present them at the Shareholder Forum in January. While most years do not bring many changes, we sometimes have new things pop up that can affect many of our budgeting decisions.
One of those items is the status of our annual fireworks show. The LOC show has become an integral part of the city’s celebration of our nations independence. It is viewed by over 10,000 people each year. For many years, we have shared the cost of the show with the City of Lake Oswego. Beginning in 2018, the city has pulled their support of the show on the lake in favor of putting on their own show near the Willamette in George Rogers Park. This action means more than losing the cost share on the actual show as they do not have the resources to do traffic control for both shows. Traffic control is essential to ensure fire lanes remain open with so many vehicles parked along the streets. Rest assured, our fireworks show will be back better than ever next year, but we will see increased costs for both the show and traffic control.
Legal costs are another area in our budget which will see some uncertainty in 2018. As you have probably read by now, the Oregon Supreme Court has agreed to review the recent decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals in favor of the city and the Lake Oswego Corporation regarding the city’s ability to set safety rules for their parks along the lake front. New briefs will have to be filed as well as oral arguments. The court has a range of options from upholding the earlier decision to remanding the case back to the trial court. What they do, and what reaction that requires by the LOC could affect our budget going forward as well. This is an important fight and it will receive our full attention.
Meanwhile, if you drive by the marina this winter, you will see the progress of our planned project to rebuild the buildings and bring them up to safety codes. This project will bring additional room for staff and better water quality lab as well as structural upgrades to help ensure that our infrastructure is better able to survive earthquakes and other natural disasters. Part of the seismic upgrade will be to inspect and replace or strengthen underwater footings. We are also building in redundancies to ensure that we can operate our dam for flood relief in the event of power outages. Our goal is to have a safe, efficient and resilient building designed to last.
In the end, it is sometimes difficult to have 100% clarity on the outside impacts to our budget. Over the last several years we have held the budget and your assessments as Jeff and his team implemented cost containments to optimize the effectiveness of the LOC operations and spending. The Board of Directors will be reviewing both the proposed 2018 budget and the impact of these outside factors on the LOC to determine if an increase in our assessment will be needed for the 2018 budget year. Our goal is to have information about the budget set and whether there will be any changes to your assessments in your hands by the 2017 yearend.