A Municipal Charter for La Pine

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med_Pamelas_Mug_copy55It was 2006 when residents in the far southern part of Deschutes County decided to make La Pine an incorporated city.  A seven square mile portion of La Pine was incorporated making La Pine Oregon’s newest city as of January 1, 2007.

Voters in La Pine’s burgeoning town now have an opportunity to vote on the city’s first municipal charter, after becoming an incorporated city a little over four years ago.

The proposed municipal charter would clarify the City’s powers and how such powers would be distributed, direct the make-up of the council, how and when the council would meet, and how the council would take action, how the council would exercise its legislative, administrative and quasi-judicial authority, identify the qualifications and term lengths for councilors who all need to live inside La Pine’s city limits and the mayor who be elected by voters instead of the council. It also sets the process for appointing a city manager and his or her duties and responsibilities and a municipal judge and his or her jurisdiction and authority.

Rick Allen, who is serving temporarily as La Pine’s city manager, has encouraged the city to design a municipal charter that works specifically for the people of La Pine. This one seems to do just that.

With no sense of permanence to the city’s incorporation La Pine recently purchased its first city hall for $330,000 which is being financed through a special program at the League of Oregon Cities that alleviates the need to ask taxpayers to fund it.

Allen said of the new city hall: “We really need a functioning city hall we can identify with, a sense of place that says we’re here for the long haul. When I was hired last June I realized that before hiring a full time city manager we needed a place of operation where we can carry on the city’s business and invite the public to participate fully in our deliberations.”

These are exciting times for La Pine, times that boast some of the tri-county area’s most attractively-priced land at La Pine Industrial Park that is building momentum as a major engine for economic growth in the community.  The Newberry Geothermal project, if successful, would benefit La Pine economically with not only construction jobs but operations and facility maintenance.

We hope the voters of La Pine see their potential and view the proposed charter as the next step in their development. PHA

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