Since then, we’ve done a lot to move us closer to our vision, but much has changed. Tigard’s population has grown by about one percent each year and our boundaries have extended to cover an additional 500 acres. This has increased demand for city services and put more strain on our aging infrastructure—including streets, sidewalks, sewers, trails and even playground equipment.
At the same time Tigard’s property taxes, which are the second lowest in the county for cities with over 5,000 residents, have not kept pace with our growth. As a result:
- Over the past five years the Tigard Police Department response rate to emergency calls (priority 1 & 2) has increased by approximately 20%. (The response rate in FY 2016-17 was 6 min and 25 seconds.)
- We have fewer police officers and librarians than we did eight years ago.
- Our paving backlog is at 22 miles and there are 27 miles of streets without sidewalks.
- More than 58 acres of parkland are undeveloped.
- There is no long-term funding plan for our Safe Routes to School program.
These are just a few examples of how our service levels are eroding; if we continue on our current financial path, the decline will become more and more evident.
Our annual report provides information about some of the city's key accomplishments in FY 2016-17; projects and programs that have helped us maintain the standards you expect. The dedication of people who work for the city every day made these possible. We would rather be investing in our community, but the current situation means we are doing more with less—and have been for some time. This is not sustainable, nor is healthy for any aspect of our city.
This is why our City Council is considering what needs to be done to secure funding for core city services – police, library, community events, infrastructure, etc. It’s time we step up and have a direct conversation about what kind of city you want Tigard to be in 10 years, and what it will take to ensure that Tigard is a safe community with a sound future.
I look forward to working with everyone as we move toward our vision.
Mayor John L. Cook