Budget Committee marathon Saturday session in May to discuss budget
Tigard's Budget Committee is planning to host a marathon meeting on a Saturday in May to sort through city budget priorities with a likely follow-up meeting the following Thursday.
On Tuesday, the committee, made up of the five members of City Council and an equal number of appointed citizens, agreed to meet from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 18 at Tigard City Hall to go through the lengthy document and receive public testimony.
The good news for the city, which was originally revealed in December, is that only $400,000 will have to be cut out of its general fund services, and not the $2.5 million originally predicted for the upcoming year.
Last year, the Budget Committee approved cutting $2.5 million out of its 2018-2019 general fund budget and the same was expected for the upcoming fiscal year. (The general fund includes funding of most city services such as police, library and parks, as well as related salaries.)
Toby LaFrance, the city's finance director, told the committee Tuesday that although the city is financially stable, cuts will be necessary but not the large amount originally expected because of an improved budget outlook where $1.5 million more is available.
Those additional dollar amounts and their sources include:
• $650,000: Unexpected interest income that came from interest rates exceeding the projected 1 percent.
• $170,000: This revenue comes from land-use sources, meaning money from developers paying for commercial and residential property fees (especially evident in the increase in building at River Terrace).
• $285,000: Marijuana tax or money coming from a percentage of sales from the retail marijuana industry stores within the city limits.
• $35,000: Money collected from a "transient tax," which are lodging taxes forwarded from the hotels and motels in the city limits.
• $20,000: Liquor tax from sales in the city.
In addition, the city saved $500,000 in the current fiscal year when positions the city planned to fill went unfilled or people weren't replaced when they left.
Cuts of $400,000 in the coming 2019-2020 fiscal year budget will be the result of elimination of the Tigard Peer Court (a court system where first-time offenders between the ages of 12 and 17, had their sentences determined by their peers) and changes to the allocations of the city's utility billing system.
LaFrance also proposed allowing the committee to talk informally with budget staff at four different times during the budget process. Budget committee members also talked about letting the public talk with the staff during a portion of those same times.
After its May 18 meeting, the Budget Committee will again meet on May 23 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. before a final Budget Committee hearing takes place on June 11.