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Council closing in on budget

Most recent version includes money for schools, sworn police and fire positions

Mayor Sam Adams will present the final revised version of his proposed budget to the City Council on Wednesday. It includes $7.5 million for Portland-area school districts and restores some previously announced cuts. Other proposed cuts are still included, however.

The cuts are being proposed because of a combination of reductions and smaller-than-expected increases in property taxes, business license fees, and federal and state fund transfers. The total city budget is shrinking approximately $51 million while the discretionary General Fund portion is dropping around $12 million.

Adams found about $7.5 million in additional resources since he proposed his first budget, however.

Under the budget to be considered Wednesday, no sworn positions would be eliminated in either the Portland Police Bureau or Portland Fire and Rescue. The police bureau would lose 11 non-sworn positions and the fire bureau would lose 2.5 non-sworn positions, however.

In addition, most road improvements would still be restricted to major thoroughfares called Streets of Citywide Significance. They would be the top priority for such upgrades as new signals. Necessary maintenance, including filling potholes, would continue on all roads, however.

Under the revised Portland Parks and Recreation budget, Buckman Pool would stay open although the Fulton Community Center would become a rental facility.

The council will also consider increasing 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 has already voted to increase sewer rates 5.39 percent.

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. That is the portion of the budget the council has the most control over.

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.