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Council approves next budget

Final budget prepared by Adams receives unanimous support

The City Council unanimously approved the final revised version of the budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 on Wednesday.

The budget is the last one to be prepared and submitted by Mayor Sam Adams, who chose not to run for re-election and will be replaced by either former Commissioner Charlie Hales or State Rep. Jefferson Smith, depending on who wins the November run-off election.

Commissioners Amanda Fritz, Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman all praised Adams for his work on the budget before announcing their votes. It avoided the most severe cuts that had been predicted when early revenue projections showed a gap of more than $12 million in the discretionary general fund portion of the budget that the council has the most control over. For example, the budget approved Wednesday maintains all sworn positions in the Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire and Rescue, and continues trash collection and other maintenance services in all city parks.

The budget also includes $7.5 million for Portland-area school districts that have been facing their own budget problems Portland Public Schools will receive $5 million as part of a deal brokered by Adams to prevent teacher layoffs.

The council also increased water rates 7.6 percent for the average single-family household, a reduction from the 8.1 percent that Adams previously proposed. Much of the increase will fund capital improvement projects. At the request of Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the council has agreed at hold a work session on the controversial projects required by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency to cover or replace the city's five open reservoirs. The council previously voted to increase sewer rates 5.39 percent.

As usual, Leonard voted yes without offering an explanation.

Officially known as the Approved Budget, the budget to be considered Wednesday is for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. The total budget is $3.58 billion, a $51 million drop from the current $3.63 billion budget.

The discretionary General Fund portion of the budget is $403 million, a $12 million drop from the current $415 million.

Once the council approves the budget, it becomes known as the Adopted Budget. A hearing on it must be held before the Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission before it becomes official. It will then return to the council for a final vote in June.