Cascade Locks mayor-elect speaks out

— In an interview on Nov. 8, Cascade Locks Mayor-elect Tom Cramblett shared his feelings on his recent victory: “I’m feeling great.”

Cramblett will take over the office from current Mayor Lance Masters, who he defeated by a 284-193 vote Nov. 6.

When asked to detail his vision for Cascade Locks, Cramblett went on to say, “My vision is to keep heading in the direction we are heading — we’re trying to get jobs here.

“I ran on fiscal and administrative accountability. We haven’t done a really good job managing our money. The money we did provide, we didn’t do a good job following through on — that was my opinion and what I ran on.

“My focus is on being real tight and making sure citizens are getting the bang for their buck. We will continue to buy good power, water and sewer and work on cable ... and, our emergency services. I want to provide a good community based system there.

“It is my belief that volunteerism is important — especially in a small community. We can’t make it without good volunteers and we need to continue to grow that.

“My push is to get with people who know how to grow it [a spirit of volunteerism] and care for it. The fact is that we do have it here but it seems to be real strong in the elderly and they are getting tired. We need to work it down to the mid-range and lower-age range.

“Fiscal responsibility and accountability, and volunteerism are all huge for me.”

Cramblett also offered his response to the failure of two Cascade Locks ballot measures that would have allowed the city council the power to control fees, taxes and utility rates without a popular vote and to change the funding mechanism to support emergency services for residents. Both went down to defeat.

Cramblett said, “I was in favor of those measures going down. I felt there was a push on our charter to water it down and centralize power away from the people ... to take it away from the people.

“The previous council already added fees without going to the people. The people have made it very clear that they want fees, charges and taxes to come before them. That tells me people want to be part of the growth and decision making part of this community.”

The measures were in part, intended as a vehicle to help address funding needs for ongoing emergency services for the community. When asked how he would address those needs without the rejected measures, Cramblett said:

“I’m going to be looking really hard into that. I’ll look at the budget process. Billing wasn’t going out and money wasn’t coming in. I believe the monies are there with good hard budgeting — staying tied to the budget — I believe that monies are there to operate an emergency services for us. I want to look into that.

“I’ll go to the citizens if needed. I have no problem asking for fees from the people but I want to be able to go to them and say this is where we are at and what we need.

“The first thing I need to do is look at what we are doing. I think it is very doable to run our EMS. If there is an issue with it, I am prepared to ask the citizens to provide the money if it is needed — not ask for any more than is needed.”

Three Cascade Locks city council seats were up for election. Randy Holmstrom returns to his seat for another term and is joined by newly elected councilors Glenda Groves and Bruce Fitzpatrick, taking over the seats vacated by Gail Lewis and Jeff Helfrich.

Cramblett’s current city council seat will become open upon his move into the mayor’s office. The new council will decide how to fill that vacancy after taking office in January.

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