City Will Address $1 Million Budget Gap Without Service Reductions
City Manager Jon Ruiz’s Proposed Budget for fiscal year 2018 (FY18: July 2017-June 2018), has been released and is now available at www.eugene-or.gov/106/Budget. The City Manager will present the FY18 Proposed Budget to the Eugene Budget Committee on Wednesday, April 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the Eugene Public Library’s Bascom-Tykeson Room. A live and recorded webcast of the presentation will be available on the City’s website at www.eugene-or.gov/webcast.
Last year the General Fund forecast predicted an ongoing budget gap of $1 to $2 million. After updating the General Fund forecast to incorporate current revenue and expenditure assumptions, however, the budget gap has grown to a total of about $3 million over three years (FY18-FY20).
“Our budget approach over the past eight years has been to minimize impacts on services, live within our means and continue to invest in the community,” said City Manager Jon Ruiz. “This approach has served us well as we moved through the recession and we are continuing in this way as we address current challenges.”
The proposed budget outlines the plan to begin to addressing the gap in FY18 through administrative measures of $1 million. Rather than reducing service levels, City departments will continue to look for ways to manage costs that are growing through efficiencies. General Fund materials and services budgets throughout the City organization will be held steady in the coming year and not receive increases such as inflationary adjustments that would normally occur. Materials and services budgets include expenditures for items such as utilities, contracts, fuel, facility maintenance, insurance, and equipment. These actions result in an ongoing savings of $1 million to the General Fund.
The City will continue to adjust and evaluate budget savings to address the remaining gap as the forecast is updated with new information. At this point, the City anticipates needing to find additional savings of $1 million per year in each of the next two years. Through good financial stewardship, the City has maintained a sufficient fiscal cushion in reserves. This allows for the three year approach, providing the City time to see how events unfold over the next several years and avoid reducing more than needed in anticipation of future events.
A number of factors impacted the financial outlook of the City. Revenues are growing slowly, with property tax revenues that are lower than forecast offset somewhat by increases in other revenue sources such as marijuana taxes, Ground Emergency Medical Transport revenue, Comcast license fees, and others. Overall, expenditures have increased primarily due to slightly higher PERS rates than previously forecast as well as the addition of several ongoing services by the Budget Committee last spring and a few more additions in the FY18 Proposed Budget.
The FY18 Proposed Budget continues the level of ongoing services that is provided in the current year. Investments in key initiatives for the community continue with funding provided in several areas including:
- Community Court - provides those with low-level offenses access to social services, community service sentencing and support to improve their lives;
- Community Outreach Response Team (C.O.R.T.)- police team that identifies frequent offenders, assesses and connects them with services to address their needs; and
- Expanded ambulance capacity through the addition of another Basic Life Support unit, using existing staffing levels and equipment.
The total FY18 Proposed Budget is approximately $589 million, which includes all City funds, such as the Airport Fund, the Ambulance Transport Fund, the Road Fund and the Parking Fund. The largest fund is the General Fund, which totals approximately $207 million of the Proposed Budget. The bulk of the General Fund, 59%, supports public safety services including Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services. Another 20% of the fund supports cultural and recreational services including the public library, local community centers and recreation facilities, and public art and events.
The Budget Committee and City Council will consider the FY18 Proposed Budget at the following meetings:
- Budget Committee Meeting – City Manager’s FY18 Proposed Budget Presentation, Wednesday, April 26, 2017 (5:30 p.m.)
This presentation includes both the City of Eugene and Urban Renewal Agency Budgets as well as the Unfunded Needs Assessment.
- Budget Committee Meeting – Public Comment and Budget Committee Deliberation, Wednesday, May 3, 2017 (5:30 p.m.)
Discussion items for this meeting include the remaining Comcast revenues and an update on the City’s preparations for the 2021 World Championships.
- Budget Committee Meeting – Public Comment and Budget Committee Deliberation, Wednesday, May 10, 2017 (5:30 p.m.)
Discussion items for this meeting include the deliberation on the FY18 Proposed Urban Renewal Agency budget.
- Budget Committee Meeting – Public Hearing, Budget Committee Deliberation and Recommendation, Wednesday, May 24, 2017 (5:30 p.m.)
- City Council Meeting – Public Hearing and Adoption, Monday, June 26, 2017 (7:30 p.m.)
For more information on the City of Eugene budget visit www.eugene-or.gov/budget.