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Troutdale lowers police levy bond

The Troutdale City Council’s resolution was really just a formality during its March 8 meeting, but the intent was to follow-through with promises to Troutdale taxpayers.

Since signing a contract for services with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in March 2015, the city of Troutdale receives nearly $216,000 annually as part of a lease for the police building.

That building was paid for by a $7.5 million bond, approved by voters in 2010.

Residents were concerned during negotiations that they would continue to pay for a building that was no longer being used by the city government.

It was then that the council promised to funnel some of those lease payments back into the bond, relieving some of the debt shouldered by taxpayers.

Finance Director Erich Mueller said $150,000 had been in the adopted in the city budget to offset the levy cost to residents in the previous year.

The council had discussed the issue last June — with much support from the community — but chose to table the discussion as some preferred channeling the revenue to a “rainy day fund.”

The fund would have stashed cash for a Troutdale Police Department, in the event the county contract failed.

Councilor John Wilson said allocating these funds to defray the levy amount is what voters are expecting, but he wanted to make it a larger offset — increasing the bond allocation to $175,000.

That adjustment is simple to make, because the debt is serviced by the county at the request of the city.

The council’s resolution was approved unanimously, with the increased $175,000 allocation.

The city budget committee — which includes the mayor, city councilors and seven other people — has the responsibility of approving the increase. Given that these funds were allocated in this budget year, it’s likely the budget committee will follow the council’s recommendation, lowering the taxpayers’ burden by just a little more than the previous year.

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