Clarification on City Hall costs; Can’t house workforce; Work is key word; City Hall pride — Letters to the Editor, Feb. 23, 2019


Clarification on new City Hall, Public Works costs

There have been a number of confused letters and verbal comments on the cost of the new City Hall and Public Works buildings. Hopefuly this will clarify what was proposed and budgeted for.

Our architect first came back with an estimate of between $6.5 to 7 million for the Public Works buildings. City staff and council worked with him repeatedly to bring the cost down to the budgeted amount $3.5 million.

The architect for the City Hall building proposed $6 million for new construction or $1.9 million for remodeling. We selected and budgeted $1.9 million for the remodeling.

Later on in the process, the architect came back with a $3.1 million cost — over a 50 percent increase. We had the architect back in another work session or council meeting (not sure which) and we were looking for ways to decrease the cost.

That process was cut short, unfortunately, and we had to add that cost to another bond issue — having to pay a higher bond rate as well.

Yes, we have a great number of people who love the “look.” We also have a large number of people who think it was too expensive.

Regardless, the layout will provide a safer environment and increased productivity as well as providing much needed upgrades for our IT department and staff.

—Ron Preisler

Florence City Councilor

Can’t house our workforce

I am responding to an article that appeared in the Saturday, Feb. 16, edition of the Siuslaw News (“Florence Food Share names Monks Interim Director”).

The article introduces Ed Monks as the new interim director. First, I’d like to welcome him to the wonderful community of Florence. I would also like to disa-buse Mr. Monks of his impression “that a greater percentage of the low-income population in Florence is at least housed.” 

Eugene has a population of over 160,000, which I believe does not include University of Oregon enrollment (somewhere around 30,000.) 

Florence’s population is around 9,000. That would indicate that Eugene has more than 20 times the population of Florence. Mr. Monks needs to understand that the Florence area is suffering a housing crisis.

I suspect percentage-wise that Florence’s “unhoused” is much higher than Eugene’s. Our crisis is not one of just the typical “homeless” folks that he might see at Food Share; we cannot house our workforce.

Couples, retirees, single-parent families that are working and don’t qualify for food assistance or are too proud to accept it. Given the average hourly wage in Florence, rental rates are beyond the reach of workers.

Remember: Florence is a tourist town. That means that workers whose jobs cater to the tourist trade are lucky to work nine months a year. Too many workers and retirees are living in their cars, vans, campers and old motorhomes. 

I don’t mean to contradict Mr. Monks, only to inform him.

—Eric D. Hauptman

Heart of the Coast Housing Alliance

Florence 

Governor should let Oregon be Oregon

Governor Brown should immediately cease and desist from the lawsuit joined by 15 other states concerning the emergency measure taken by our Chief Executive.

The emergency is the porous nature of our southern border. As a sanctuary state, Oregonians are keenly aware that we need more protection from undocumented workers or illegal migrants — not less.

I take umbrage that I am coerced to pay taxes for a lawsuit concerning federal jurisdiction of the executive and legislative branches. Could not Oregonians benefit by money being spent in Oregon instead of for attorneys? Our national sovereignty is very important, but lets let Washington handle that responsibility, not Oregon.

The U.S. Constitution calls for immigration issues to be authorized by articles one and two, not the 10th Amendment.

Governor Brown has taxing and spending challenges, particularly with PERS deficits to deal with locally. Emergency monies have been called on from the executive branch 56 times since the 1974 statute, and since then we have never heard a whisper concerning lawsuits and unconstitutionality until now.

Let’s let Oregon be Oregon and stay out of DC. Our financial house has many unfunded liabilities, not unlike Congress. However, lets take the beam out of our eye first before we put a lawyer in Washington’s eye.

God bless America.

—Joel Marks

Florence

“Work” is key word in helping end homelessness

I’ve been following the Siuslaw News articles on homeless people. I see them on our street corners with signs all the time. I noticed in a recent article a line that caught my eye:

“One of the major problems facing those who work to alleviate the issue of homelessness is finding exact numbers.”

That is the key word: “Work.”

If you spend the taxpayers’ money to do these surveys, why don’t they find and put to work these people who have no homes? I worked hard all my life, often at jobs I didn’t like — but I liked getting a paycheck.

It is so nice of our communuty to have churches that feed the homeless and give them rides to warm places during cold weather. But why don’t they put them to work cleaning the church and church grounds, or doing dishes for the food they eat?

I truly feel for all these people, but America is a great country with all kinds of opportunities to get someplace in life. My dad was a coal miner and I was a coal miner’s daughter who grew up in a coal-mining town. I believe I know what hard work was for my family and none of us grew up to be homeless.

It’s a thing called “pride.”

— Bea Vanderpool

Florence

City Hall something we can all take pride in

Forget about past complaints of cost and design. The grand reopening of City Hall on Feb. 19 was absolutely fantastic.

I wasn’t expecting it, but I sensed an excited and prideful posture in all of the staff members as they eagerly showed off their new modern surroundings, computers and office equipment to the public.

This has to be a huge morale and efficiency boost for them, from which we will also benefit from and can take pride in.

Congratulations Florence and all its city staff.

— Bill Craig

Florence 

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