Campaign Crunch Time!
Since the start of this campaign I have knocked on over 500 doors and made over 1,000 calls! I have reached more than 1,500 Ward 7 voters and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Getting to talk to people about what is important to them has been a wonderful experience.
Ballots Drop Soon!
Ballots drop Friday (5/01)! It is a critical deadline for our fundraising efforts. We need to raise $2,338 by Friday in order to reach our fundraising goal and we need your help. Please donate any amount you are comfortable with. Every dollar helps tremendously!
City Manager Proposed Budget Highlights
- Total resources in all City funds are $748.2 million representing a 6.6% increase as compared to this year.
- Even prior to the pandemic, the City anticipated difficulty in funding current services as expenses continue to escalate at a faster pace than revenues. We need to live within our means.
- This proposed budget increases funding for the Homeless Rental Assistance Program (HRAP) from $700,000 to $1,100,000 annually. In the summary from the City Manager, he notes that the increased budget will align the program with available housing options. This funding will provide housing and support services to an additional 25 individuals. Last year, this program budget was slashed in half to “right-size” the program.
- Organizational design for a shared services customer service center is underway. The space will be located in the first floor of the civic center after the police department vacates. I will support this project to help make it easier for our community to get through services quicker!
- The budget for the General fund (largest fund) reflects ongoing revenues of $141.2 million with expenditures of $145.9 million. This means that the City will need to use ~$4.7 million of working capital (savings) to balance the budget. This is not sustainable. We need to live within our means.
- The budget notes that the first phase of the sustainable services revenue task force has been implemented, in the form of a City operations fee generating nearly $7m of new annual revenue. “This is the first of a two-phase approach.” The second phase is the employee-paid payroll tax, which will come back for consideration. I do not support this tax.
- Employee pension costs continue to rise. The rates are 25.49 percent for tiers 1 and 2. These costs are increasing another $1 million or 4.4%, on top of a prior year increase of $6m or 31%. The combined increase in the last two years for PERS costs exceeds the revenue generated from the City operations fee.
- Lastly, the budget notes that the recent resident satisfaction survey showed major concerns around homelessness and City infrastructure, including traffic and the bridge. “A majority of residents with experience driving across downtown during peak traffic hours say it is difficult (82%). Nearly half of those surveyed listed building and major repairs to streets, bridges, and sidewalks as the highest priority for future investments.” Where is the discussion or priority around the Salem River Crossing project?