Portland City Manager Jon Jennings presented his recommended municipal budget for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), which begins July 1, 2019, to the City Council at its April 8 meeting. The $263.4 million budget results in a 2.9% city-side property tax rate increase or $79 for an average homeowner with a $240,000 home. Despite some positive budget drivers, there were several city expenditures out of the City’s control that increased, and therefore the budget had to include a number of cuts in order to meet the Manager’s goal of delivering a budget with less than a 3% tax rate increase.
Some of the positive budget drivers include $85 million in new property valuation. While this may seem like a significant amount, it only results in an additional $985,000 in tax revenue for municipal use, and is only a 0.106% overall increase to our FY19 valuation of approximately $7.9 billion. This means it can only fund a fraction of the cost increases and built-in budget challenges in FY20, many of which are outside of the City’s control.
Reflecting on the budget process, City Manager Jon Jennings offered, “The goal of this budget was to bring forward a recommendation that allows us to continue moving forward on the progress we’ve made, but in a fiscally responsible way. Our staff goals for FY20 revolve around efficiency and innovation so we can further improve city services while reducing costs, emphasizing customer service, and fulfilling our commitment to getting things done on a timely basis. We must continue to take care of our infrastructure needs that were set aside for too long.”
He added, “I take my responsibilities to the Council and the taxpayers of the city very seriously. As we have discussed on many occasions, we are all concerned about the affordability of the city and government can be a driver of costs that make it unaffordable to live in Portland. That is why I felt it was important for us to limit the tax impact due to the drivers outlined in the budget.”
The City Manager’s complete FY20 recommended budget can be read online here.
Upcoming Council & Public Review of FY20 City Municipal Budget
Finance Committee Meetings:
Tuesday, April 23
Wednesday, April 24
Thursday, May 2
All meetings are in Room 209 of City Hall at 5:30 PM.
The City Council will hold a first read of the Recommended FY20 Budget during its Monday, May 6 meeting at 5:30 PM in Council Chambers. Public comment will be taken. They will hold a workshop to discuss the budget on May 13 at 5:30 PM in Council Chambers. No public comment will be taken, but the public is welcome to attend. The second read and final public hearing will be held at the Council’s May 20 meeting at 5:30 PM in Council Chambers.