City Bridges Masthead
News & Information from the City of Albany, Oregon
September 2013
Charter amendment on
September 17 ballot


Albany voters will be asked in September to decide on a measure to amend the City Charter to require voter approval prior to City borrowing.  Here is the language that will appear as Measure 22-119 on ballots for the election that ends September 17, 2013:



Charter amendment to require voter approval prior to City borrowing.



Shall the Charter be amended to require a vote of the people prior to City borrowing?



This measure amends the City Charter in response to the vote on Measure 22-117 on March 12, 2013. That measure was not placed in the City Charter because it did not receive the required number of votes necessary under the law to be effective.  Thereafter, the City in cooperation with the chief petitioner of Measure 22-117 agreed upon this proposed Charter amendment as a method to require a public vote prior to new City borrowing while minimizing unnecessary expenses and avoiding unintended consequences.


The measure will require voter approval of City borrowing with the exception of borrowing to finance local improvements allowed by ORS Chapter 223 (Bancroft Bonding Act) or any similar replacement statute; borrowing authorized by an Oregon state statute; borrowing to address an emergency situation that poses an immediate risk of significant economic loss to the City or an immediate risk to health, life, or property; or borrowing to refinance an existing City borrowing for financial savings.

In This Issue
General Information

Ward I Councilors

Ward II Councilors


Ward III Councilors



City Manager 
What Happened to the Pepsi Money?

By Wes Hare, City Manager


Spring of 2010 sometimes seems like a lifetime ago instead of a little more than three years past. Many new residents who have moved to Albany during that period and many more long-term residents probably don't know that the City of Albany received a check that year for $18.5 million from SVC Manufacturing, a division of the folks who bring us Pepsi, to settle a contract that obligated the company to build a new plant in Albany. The City also received a commitment for an additional $5 million when SVC sells the property they purchased for the plant, plus an agreement to remove the land from tax-deferred status which results in increased tax payments to Linn County of more than $200,000 annually. This additional revenue is distributed to all the taxing jurisdictions (city, county, LBCC, schools, etc.) where the property is located.


The settlement money was and is different from most money the City receives because there are very few conditions on how it can be used. Albany's City Council has the authority to allocate the money for any public purpose as long as it is done in accordance with state budget laws. The Council made a decision shortly after receiving the settlement that it would not be used for operating purposes but would be reserved for capital or one-time expenses. Among the highest priorities was to put settlement money back into the utility funds that covered the cost of bringing infrastructure to the SVC site. The cost of putting in water and sewer lines was $1.16 million, and that amount was returned to the capital fund for the utilities. An additional $1 million was allocated to the City's liability reserve fund to help cover the costs of reaching the settlement agreement. This money has not been spent but is reserved for future use.


Saving money also seemed like a good use of settlement proceeds, and the City Council directed staff to look at the savings that would result from paying off outstanding debt obligations. The City was able to net savings of about $1 million by paying off a bond early with the use of $790,000 in settlement money. Councilors also recognized that utility rates can be a heavy burden for residents and chose to use $840,000 to offset a proposed sewer rate increase.


Cities often use Local Improvement Districts (LIDs) to help finance the cost of new infrastructure for projects like the improvement of Oak Street or Timber Ridge Street. Settlement money was loaned to these projects in the amount of $4,629,782. Most of this money will be recovered as assessments are repaid or, in the case of the Timber Ridge improvements, property is sold.


Perhaps the most controversial use of the money from SVC was a Council decision to purchase land near East Thornton Lake for use as a natural area. The $1 million allocation leveraged an additional $700,000 from state and private sources and settled a dispute over use of the land that might otherwise still be in litigation. The City has spent about $215,000 on small businesses assistance, facilities studies, and other small economic or community development projects in Albany. The most recent expenditure of settlement money was authorization of a $174,000 loan to purchase software that will allow for electronic submission of development plans.


The current available balance that is designated for new facilities and economic development is more than $8.5 million, with an additional amount of nearly $5 million to be repaid from LIDs and other loans.


Albany now has close to 51,000 residents, and there are probably close to that many opinions about how the City should spend money to serve or improve the community. Most of the SVC settlement money has been invested in improvements that will serve Albany residents for a lifetime and beyond. New businesses, new streets, and new parkland are all part of what makes a community livable and prosperous. Additionally, the majority of the settlement proceeds remain to help reduce the cost of needed facilities and promote economic development.

Albany transparency, performance measurement recognized

Albany was recently featured in the International City-County Management Association's (ICMA) Center for Performance Measurement Spotlight in recognition of the City's efforts to make financial and performance measurement information available to citizens through its website.


CPM Spotlight: Albany, Oregon
This Month's Spotlight is shining on Albany, Oregon!
July 25, 2013

  • Jurisdiction: City of Albany
  • State: Oregon
  • CPM Participant Since: 2005
  • Current Manager: Wes Hare
  • Current Primary Coordinator: Bob Woods
  • Region: West Coast
  • Population: 50,710
  • Motto: Providing quality public services for a better Albany community.

When building a community, city managers have a wealth of information at their disposal. Often, deciding which information is relevant to their current projects can be the most difficult part of the job. For this reason the City of Albany, Oregon, has turned to performance measurement to ensure that all of its data is up-to-date and significant. Albany's primary coordinator Bob Woods stated, "As government managers, our job is to support our policy makers by providing all the relevant information we can so that they have the resources to make an informed judgment."


For decades the City of Albany has included basic performance data in the annual budget. But with the advent of ICMA's Center for Performance Measurement™ (CPM), Albany has been able to take standardized data sets and compare themselves to their local and national peers. Albany found the data sets particularly helpful; and by comparing their data to similar jurisdictions, they were able to improve on multiple measures. Woods reported, "When we compared ourselves to other jurisdictions, we found that our rates of sick leave usage were consistently higher than the median use. Without that data we would have just assumed that things were fine."


The City of Albany understands that performance measurement is important not only to public managers but also to the citizens within the community. Since 2009, data sets have been consolidated on Albany's website into the "Albany Dashboard," which provides a single access point to the city's entire general ledger and performance metrics. These metrics provide the opportunity for the community to become knowledgeable and aware of ongoing expenditures and performance progress within Albany.


Looking forward, the City of Albany plans to continue to use CPM resources to help in decision making and benchmarking. Albany's managers understand that "performance measurement never ends and must adapt to changing conditions in the community as well as within our operations."

Drinking water quality report on-line

The City of Albany prepares a report on its drinking water supply annually as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report for calendar 2012 is available on the City's website at or may be downloaded as a pdf at the same address.


Clean water is essential to the health and well-being of our community. The City of Albany places great importance on delivering quality water daily to every tap. Our goal is to provide safe, high quality drinking water to every customer. The City staff is responsible for testing water quality throughout the distribution system to make sure it meets or exceeds regulatory standards and customer expectations. These results are reported to the proper authorities. The Oregon Health Authority's Drinking Water Program is responsible for promoting compliance with drinking water standards set by the EPA.


For more information about Albany's drinking water, contact Jeff Kinney, or 541-917-7628.


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