Delivered at the January 4, 2023 Council Special Session:
Thank you for being here with us this evening at our first City Council meeting of 2023! On November 8th of 2022, the citizens of Albany cast their votes and elected three new City Councilors and reaffirmed that they trust me to continue serving as Mayor. I am honored for the opportunity to be here with you this evening to continue serving as Mayor of Albany, Oregon.
First and foremost, on behalf of the citizens of Albany, I would to thank former councilor’s Dick Olsen, Stacey Bartholomew and Bessie Johnson for their years of selfless service on the City Council and various boards and commissions during their time of service.
Furthermore, I pleased to welcome Councilor Steph Newton (Ward 1), Councilor Jackie Montague (Ward 2) and Councilor Ramycia McGhee (Ward 3) to the dais! Congratulations! Your election victory will be one of those moments in your life that you will forever prove how being of service of an honor.
I look forward to serving alongside each of you for the next two years. I am excited for the future of Albany, and I look forward to your contribution and participation in the governance and leadership from this day forward.
Your new City Councilors are joining a Council that came together during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and worked extremely hard on behalf of all our residents to ensure Albany continues to grow, thrive and be a livable safe city with the essential services needed to ensure each member of our community experienced no decrease in services.
More importantly, the aforementioned work would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of each member of the Staff. I want to express my sincerest admiration and appreciation for each member of Staff. The average resident does not know that less than 500 people keep a city of near 58,000 people running efficiently and safely 24 hours a day 365 days a year! For that, I am truly thankful.
As we begin again in 2023, we are faced with an upcoming budget cycle, continued work on housing affordability and homelessness, ensuring our infrastructure and services are scalable and efficiently delivered to our community and staffing levels in all departments are appropriate and able to meet the needs of our community.
Strategic Plan 2022-2026
I sincerely encourage each member of our community to engage with their City Councilor and participate in the process of continuing to create an Albany that we can be proud of for generations. I recommend starting with reviewing our strategic plan.
In 2022, we updated our Strategic Plan to ensure we move forward with meaningful objectives and achievable goals. The four themes of the strategic plan guide our initiatives and our service delivery:
- A Safe City
- A Healthy Economy
- Great Neighborhoods
- Effective Government
The Strategic Plan enables your City Council to have site to ensure meet current the current needs of our community. In addition, and more importantly, it requires us to have vision for future of Albany. It also enables and requires us to provide purposeful direction to Staff as they execute the plan. Overall, our mission remains: to provide quality public services for a better Albany community.
In 2023, we will experience change and growth in Albany. We will be addressing several very important issues (I have listed a few) including:
- Fiscal Responsibility - Building the 2023-25 budget. As you know, this budget will be challenged (once again) by the impacts of inflation and the limited growth of property tax revenues. The City Services Fee is a source of revenue which has allowed the continuation of current service levels.
- Economic Development - Completing the first phases of the Water Avenue Project
- Public Safety - Adding EMS capacity to meet the increase in calls for service (19% since FY20.) Working with the local health care system which is operating at max capacity (we’re frequently waiting to transfer care to hospital staff, reducing our availability to respond to the next emergency.)
- Infrastructure - Seeking grants and other sources of funding to maintain our public infrastructure (streets, water distribution, wastewater, and storm water.)
- Growth - Making significant progress in developing the East Albany plan and other housing opportunities.
I humbly ask that we work together make progress and be a better Albany for all of us! Thank you for your attention and time this evening!
Alexander D. Johnson II
Mayor of Albany, Oregon