Demand outpacing resources of city departments
The City of Wilsonville Budget Committee unanimously approved the 2019-20 fiscal year budget at a meeting Tuesday, May 28.
The City Council's approval at the June 3 meeting (after the Spokesman went to press) was all that was needed for the document to become official.
After the first budget committee meeting May 20, the Spokesman outlined some of the major components of the budget. Smaller insights came out of the May 28 meeting.
City of Wilsonville Human Resources Manager Andrea Villagrana said that about 30 percent of the City's work force is eligible to retire in the next five years and that number climbs to 50 percent in the next 10 years.
"We keep quite a few employees here. That's why we have such a high percentage of employees who are eligible for retirement because they really enjoy working here and they enjoy the work environment," Villagrana said.
Wilsonville Finance Director Cathy Rodocker said that just about every City department requested additional personnel for the upcoming fiscal year. In reality, excluding shuffles between departments, the Parks and Recreation department took on two additional full-time employees to manage additional responsibilities, transportation took on five additional employees paid for mostly through grants and House Bill 2017 funding. Public safety added 0.5 employees and administration added 0.5 employees. Public Works, the Library and Community Development departments did not see staffing increases.
"All the growth in the city is catching up with everyone (staff). At some point in time, we will see that additional personnel will be needed," Rodocker said.
Wilsonville building official Dan Carlson said that building permit rates in the City have not changed since 2006 and "are frankly not keeping pace." The City's building permit expenditures are exceeding revenues, and the building department reserves will run out by 2023 if no changes are made.
A chart Carlson showed to the committee revealed that building department reserves have declined from $4 million in 2016-17 to about $2 million for the upcoming fiscal year. He also said that a building permit fee increase might be needed to prevent the reserves from falling below zero and sug
"The bottom line is, unless we reserve some significant development activity, we will need to adjust our fees and expenditures before January of 2023," he said. "We've been good stewards, I think, of the resources we're given and not gotten ahead of ourselves with fee increases that are necessary particularly when the reserves are very healthy."
Wilsonville Police will add a part-time detective to its staff in the upcoming fiscal year. Currently, the City has one detective and Police Chief Rob Wurpes said the detective's caseload is much more onerous than counterparts in other cities.
For instance, Wurpes said that at any given time, the detective is working on an average of nine cases, whereas other detectives in the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office are typically working on five cases.
"He's (the current detective) a really hard worker. He's doing a great job managing it, but we're asking a lot of him for very serious crimes," Wurpes said. However, the police department did not have to increase its overall expenditure in order to add the part-time position.
The City's various urban renewal agency budgets also were approved at the meeting. Through urban renewal, which collects increases in tax revenue from a frozen base and uses that money for public improvement projects, the City will spend $935,000 to begin the Boeckman Dip Bridge project, $6.6 million for the Fifth Street extension to Kinsman Road, and $1.8 million to develop Garden Acres Road in the Coffee Creek Industrial Area. The City also plans to spend about $10 million on the Fifth Street extension from 2020-22, about $13.5 million on the completion of the Boeckman Dip project from 2020-22 and about $5 million on the extension to Brown Road between 2020 and 2023 through urban renewal.
The City previously has used urban renewal to improve Wilsonville Road, build a turf field at Wilsonville High School and build City Hall.
"We have used urban renewal responsibly, and it has returned results for this community that we could not have achieved any other way within that kind of a timeframe," Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp said.