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Portland rolling in bucks as city piles up $25.6 million more than expected


TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - A new budget forecast says the city of Portland will have more than $9 million more than expected when it starts the long budgeting process.Portland is experiencing record revenue growth as the economy continues to recover, according to the five-year general fund forecast released Thursday, April 28, by the city Budget Office.

According to the final forecast before the City Council adopts next year's budget, Portland will have an additional $9.2 million in ongoing resources and $16.4 million of one-time resources for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2016.

“Though the city is experiencing record revenue growth, the needs of the community have also increased,” says Budget Director Andrew Scott. “Portland has made many long range decisions that have resulted in a city that is attracting young, highly educated residents seeking a high quality of life. The key will be managing the downside effects of such growth, such as rising housing costs and increased demand for services.”

Mayor Charlie Hales intends to release his proposed budget decisions on Monday, May 2.

The full forecast document can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/574992.

According to the forecast, both the national and the regional economy are growing rapidly, which added to the city's revenue. "The issues, like housing affordability, exist largely because Portland has become a victim of its own success. Job growth has been widespread and income growth is finally ramping up after years of stagnation. More importantly, the quality of life and lower cost relative to other west coast cities continues to attract the highly educated and wealthy. This has ultimately fueled unprecedented revenue growth for the city, resulting in $25.6 million in additional resources in FY 2016-17 above what is necessary to continue existing programs."

The primary drivers behind the forecast include:

• Lodging tax receipts continue to exceed expectations,leading to a $2.2 million increase in the forecast.

• A change in the administration of utility license taxes will also increase ongoing general fund revenue by up to $1 million.

• In addition to the low inflation cited in the February forecast update, the city is also expecting very small increases in health benefits costs. Relative to previous expectations, this adjustment will save the city $1.7 million in ongoing costs.