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City of Woodburn approves 2014-15 budget

After several years of declining revenues and difficult budget decisions, the Woodburn City Council last week unanimously approved a fiscal year budget that not only avoids layoffs and other cuts, but actually includes funding for a few capital projects and modest restorations to several key areas.

The cautious optimism is buoyed by a gradually improving economic picture, as well as increased development locally (most notably, that related to the Woodburn Interchange Project). The 2014-15 fiscal year budget for Woodburn anticipates a $200,000 increase in property tax revenue over last year’s budgeted total of $7 million.

“We’re trying to add back around the edges things that have been lost and plug some holes that have been left open for a while,” Scott Derickson, city administrator and budget officer, explained during a previous meeting.

One of the most publicly visible additions in this year’s budget will probably be the increase in hours at the Woodburn Public Library. Its operating schedule was reduced by 13 hours two years ago. But starting July 1, the library will get six of those hours back: two evening hours on Thursday (5 to 7 p.m.) and four on Sunday (1 to 5 p.m.)

“This increase in library hours should prove to be very popular, as many folks liked coming to the library with their families on Sundays, and weeknights are also very busy,” Library Manager John Hunter said.

According to a city news release, the library’s use has declined somewhat since its operating hours and budget decreased in 2012 due to budget cuts. This restoration of library hours is designed to expand library usage by making the facility available at the times that have been most popular in the past.

Community Services Director Jim Row said the increases were accomplished in a strategic, cost-effective way, with a small increase in the library’s part-time staff and without the creation of any new full-time positions.

Also included in the budget are two additional patrol officers, which were the result of a cost-neutral reorganization within the police department. The code enforcement also received a bump from $10,000 to $20,000 for abatements.

To see the entire budget document for the 2014-15 fiscal year, visit the city’s website at www.ci.woodburn.or.us.



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