Council passes budget with $11 million in cuts
The Tigard City Council voted unanimously on June 26 to adopt the city's 2018-19 fiscal budget of $126 million, a reduction of 9.4 percent over the current fiscal year.
The budget contains more than $11 million worth of reductions, including $2.5 million in general fund cuts. While the city will continue to provide essential services, complete capital improvement projects, represent Tigard's interest in regional issues, as well as efficiently manage its financial resources, those general fund reductions will affect Tigard Police, the Tigard Public Library, the city's recreation program, economic development program and social service grants, according to city officials.
Among the changes, which began July 1, are:
· Tigard Police will not fill four vacant police officer positions.
· Tigard Police School Resource Officers will be reduced from four to two.
· Tigard Police will not fill a vacant community service officer position, a 50-percent reduction that will impact the department's ability to address parking violations, graffiti and reports to police that contain no suspect information. In addition, it will reduce the number of community services officers available to assist patrol and traffic units handling traffic accidents.
· Funding for programs at the Tigard Public Library will be reduced by 75 percent, which means fewer story times for children and computer classes for adults. All book groups will be eliminated, and the number of cultural and educational programs for all age groups will decrease.
· Funds for new library materials — books, DVDs, CDs, etc. — will be cut by 25 percent and library patrons may wait longer for assistance because of a reduction in staffing levels.
· There will be fewer city-sponsored community events due to reductions in the Parks and Recreation program.
· Social Service Funding grants, which help provide support to the Good Neighbor Center, Luke Dorf, Tualatin Riverkeepers and the St. Anthony Severe Weather Shelter, will be cut in half.
· Wi-Fi at the city's parks will be eliminated.
· The city will not have a robust Economic Development program, which may impact the city's ability to attract new businesses to the area.
More than 98 percent of the budget cuts in the original budget submitted to the Budget Committee by City Manager Marty Wine were approved, according to a city spokesman.
However, proposed cuts to Tigard's Peer Court and Community Emergency Response Team, more commonly known as CERT, were reinstated after a strong showing of public support for them at the Budget Committees meetings held in April and May.
However, because of the failure of Tigard's May levy, these programs and others — including code enforcement, the Safe Routes to School program, parks maintenance and the recreation program — are at risk for the next fiscal year, where another $2.5 million in general fund cuts are expected as well.