Here's what you should know about the Lake Oswego budget
City budgets are among the most important documents produced by a municipality — the blueprints for spending and project prioritization that, in one way or another, affect every resident in the city.
Lake Oswego adopts new budgets biennially, and the City Council will vote soon on whether to formally adopt the proposed spending plan, which the Lake Oswego Budget Committee recently approved, for 2021-23.
Since even the "brief" version of the budget numbers 86 pages, most residents won't have time to parse through the details.
With that in mind, Pamplin Media Group looked over the budget and highlighted some of the most noteworthy items. You can find our handy budget "cheat sheet" below:
City wants to hire more officers
The Lake Oswego Police Department is looking to add four sworn officers to the force. One of the City Council's primary goals for 2021 was to complete a community engagement process around policing that began last year amid widespread social unrest. However, with the city's budgeting process running on a separate — and faster — timetable, the budget committee was compelled to address the proposal in some way and ultimately voted unanimously to allocate the funds requested ($1.6 million) for the new officers with a caveat that the police chief could not hire anyone before the community police dialogue was completed.
This would increase the police budget by about $700,000 per year, with total expenditures for the department during the biennium adding up to about $31.8 million.
Other departments may expand
The city continues to steadily add more full-time employees. New positions that recently were approved by the City Council include a diversity, equity and inclusion program manager, a behavioral health specialist for the police department and a planning manager to help with work surrounding House Bills 2001 and 2003.
As the city expands park operations and other areas of work caused by population growth and increased city services, a new park ranger position was added as well as a maintenance technician, an adult resource officer and a position to ensure the city is complying with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The city also added a maintenance technician in the water department.
Pathways, streets are priorities
The city plans to allocate $2 million in funding for top priority pathway projects including the ADA Sidewalk Ramp Retrofit Program, the Douglas Way Pathway from Quarry Road to Hallmark Drive (as well as from Hallmark Drive to Boones Ferry Road), the Boca Ratan Pathway from Bonniebrae Drive to Atwater Road and the Hallinan Street Pathway from Hemlock Street to Cherry Lane.
According to the city's budget report, the allocation is "made up of one-time savings from the 2019-21 biennium," and it won't reduce funding for street improvements (which continue to be a priority).
The street budget for materials and services is roughly $3.6 million over the next biennium, which includes sidewalk repairs, striping work, sign repair, invasive species removal and traffic signal maintenance and repair.
The capital outlay for streets, which includes larger projects like the ADA sidewalk ramp program, bike and pedestrian pathway improvements and pavement preservation, is estimated to be about $12 million over the next biennium. Also included in this budgeted amount is a new pickup and service truck.
Recreation and Aquatic Center
Lake Oswego has long wanted a new pool and recreation center, and it's finally on its way. The highly sought capital project was approved as part of the parks and recreation bond in 2019, and the city expects to spend $5 million in 2021-22 and $10 million in 2022-23. The project also will extend into 2023-24, and the city expects to spend another $14 million that year.
The facility will include a competitive swimming pool, a warm water recreation pool, dry activity and exercise rooms, classrooms for the Parks and Recreation Department, offices for the Parks and Recreation team members, a cardio weight room and gym.
Pandemic hit parks budget
While the next biennium budget of about $21.2 million remains roughly similar to the last biennium budget, it's important to note how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the parks and recreation department over the last year. There was an estimated loss of 71,330 activity participants due to the pandemic and 776 recreation activities and park rentals were not held due to cancellations. This resulted in a total loss of about $758,000 in revenue and actual refunds.
LO library to get updates
The proposed budget for materials and services for the Lake Oswego Public Library is just under $2.6 million for the 2021-23 biennium. This total includes costs of the elevator, the HVAC system, the awning, deck foundation and a children's area remodel in 2022-23.
The budget committee will come before the City Council for adoption of the budget in an open hearing Tuesday, June 1.
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