City Hall Update: Council approves $5.1 billion budget
The city council unanimously approved a $5.1 billion annual budget Wednesday, May 16, that will take effect July 1.
It includes an increase of the city's business income tax from 2.2 percent to 2.6 percent to raise $15.3 million. The increase will be used to hire 49 new police officers and six sworn support staff positions, among other things.
The council only controls the $566 million general fund portion of the budget. Other significant spending items include $31 million for the city-county Joint Office on Homeless Services and $500,000 for legal services for Portland immigrants threatened with deportation.
Portland bureau heads needed
Seven Portland bureaus now need permanent directors following last week's announcement that Budget Office Director Andrew Scott will leave to become Metro's deputy chief operating officer.
In the days before the announcement, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat emailed employees to say she was taking a transportation-related job in the private sector and Commissioner Amanda Fritz pushed Mike Abbate out of his job as Portland Parks & Recreation director.
The other four bureaus needing permanent directors are the Bureau of Emergency Management, the Portland Housing Bureau, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and the Office of Equity and Human Rights.
Since Mayor Ted Wheeler took office, directors have been replaced at the Bureau of Development Services, the Bureau of Emergency Communications, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the Office of Government Relations, the Bureau of Human Resources, the Portland Police Bureau, the Office of Management and Finance and the Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services.
Traffic fatalities still rising
Traffic fatalities are continuing to increase in Portland despite the Vision Zero Action Plan approved by the City Council that is intended to eliminate all fatal and serious injury crashes by 2025.
A bicyclist involved in a May 17 crash in Northwest Portland became the 17th fatality of the year when he subsequently died of his injuries. Twelve people had been killed on Portland streets by this time last year. Traffic fatalities also are increasing across the country.