Newberg expected to release budget proposal by mid-April
The city of Newberg will release its 2019-2020 budget proposal to the public on April 17. A week later the budget committee will hold its first of what could be seven meetings before the budget is approved by the City Council.
City Finance Director Matt Zook said he couldn't reveal the exact budget figures ahead of the April 17 timeframe, but said the budget is largely "status quo" as it relates to the general fund, meaning there will be no new positions and no new programs added. And while the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget doesn't end until June 30, Zook said the general fund will be sound and the city will end the year positively, which helps the city know how much money it has to start the next fiscal year.
"The next budget we will anticipate being in a good position," Zook said.
In terms of long range planning, he said there remain concerns over the long term sustainability of the general fund, which will continue to be conversation points. He added that this boils down to asking "how do we get ourselves into a better position where we're not spending more than we're bringing in."
"We have a good, healthy fund balance right now. We can use part of that balance to sustain current operations," he said. "Over time if we continue in that direction, we need to address what we call the structural deficit."
On April 23, the budget committee will hold a meeting where department heads will discuss items that didn't make it into the budget. This include items or positions they asked for but didn't get, or things they didn't ask for or were deferred or needed to be addressed in the future.
"It'll be an interesting process," Zook said. "We typically have approved the budget within three meetings. We're scheduling seven meetings, but we hope it doesn't go that long."
The need for more meetings, he said, is because several members of the City Council are new and there are several new appointments on the committee as well.
"We're going to deliver a more robust proposal process; all that takes time," Zook said.
The 2018-2019 approved budget for all funds was $93,039,631, a 6.6 percent decrease from the current 2017-18 budget. Total appropriations were $ 77,668,937. The city has a permanent rate tax limit of $4.38 per $1,000 of assessed value. The budget included a reduction of $1.88 per $1,000 of assessed value in property taxes due to the city's merger with the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue district; a 4 percent increase in water rates, a 3.5 percent increase in wastewater rates, and a 9 percent increase in storm water fees.
Zook said the new budget has a property tax rate increase of 7.5 cents per $1,000 of value. That's a 3 percent rate increase, which the city charter and state law allows for each year, which was part of the charter amendment when the city shifted its fire department to TVF&R. The budget committee ultimately approves the tax rate.
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