Ashland town hall focuses on upcoming budget concerns, future priorities

ASHLAND, Ore. – Residents of Ashland were invited to a town hall about the city’s future priorities on Monday night.

Topics ranged from infrastructure issues, economic growth and public safety services.

“It was really impressed with the turnout to see a line all the way around the building was really impressive,” Ashland resident Louisa Nahem said.

“Everybody comes here with one of two of their main issues they want to voice, but when you look around you see there’s a lot to consider,” Ashland resident Marilyn Lindsay said.

The city is looking to identify important issues residents want the city council to focus on for the next six years.

Those who participated were asked to place dots on topics they believe should be the top priority.

In March, the council will see the results of the town hall.

Ashland city councilor Paula Hyatt said inflation has affected its general fund, as they now look to the public’s¬†input.

“That compression is what’s pushing us to be here tonight, to look at what are community prioritizes, where they want those funds spent so that we spend them the most efficiently and effective way as possible,” Hyatt said.

Residents met in small group settings with various city staffers and council members to discuss specific items.

City council member Gina DuQuenne says she was hoping the town hall would have a slightly different focus.

“I wish that the seven topics had of been more on point to see how we could truly our $4.3 million dollar deficit, that’s what we need to talk about,” DuQuenne said.

Some residents are also concerned about the budget, as the council will soon begin discussing what to do for the next biennium.

It could mean more cuts to various city departments or even an increase in taxes.

“If they need to raise them to keep what we got or improve things that need improvement, I‘m okay with that,” Nahem said.

“I don’t think we should have to choose between funding of having police and fire not funded,” Lindsay said.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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