Springfield, Eugene and Lane County officials all say it was a busy and challenging year. While many issues remain unresolved, they’re ready to tackle them all head on in 2014.
While the economy appears to be picking up for many, the budget battle continued for local governments in 2013, who are still struggling financially.
“We tried one solution to our budget gap and that didn’t work, so we’re hard at work trying to find other solutions,” said Kitty Piercy, Eugene Mayor.
And no year is complete without a little bit of controversy.
“The fact that we had difficulty with our administration. You know, we had to go through a difficult process of evaluating and more or less investigating things that you don’t like to do end up being part of the job,” said Pat Farr, Lane County Commissioner.
But they’re trying not to let all the bad outshine the good.
“When you start talking about budgets in Springfield, that led to one of the biggest accomplishments,” said Sean Van Gordon, Springfield City Councilor.
Both Springfield and Eugene saw big changes to their downtown areas. And Lane County leaders are optimistic about what’s to come in the Goshen area.
“Probably the biggest accomplishment is the Board of Commissioners adopting land use that would allow Goshen to redevelop,” said Faye Stewart, Lane County Commissioner.
And, it’s not just professional goals for these city and county leaders as they look ahead to 2014. Just like the rest of us, they have personal expectations.
“I just want to find a way to be a little bit healthier,” Stewart said.
“I want to make more time with friends and family,” Van Gordon said.
And they’re hoping by this time next year the budget is less of a battle and it’ll be an easier year for everyone.
“We’re trying to do all that we can with our community partners to have jobs more available to people in this area. If we have jobs, we have more taxes and we have more money to pay for the things that are important to everybody,” Piercy said.
Another big accomplishment for the area was the passage of the public safety levy. Lane County commissioners say it’s a good example of success, but it also shows that there is still work to be done.