Portland Parks Faces a Potential Budget Reduction, Requests Community Input

Dear Friends and Partners,

When I last updated you in January 2018 on the City of Portland Budget Process, it was to share that we had just submitted the final Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Requested Budget. In accordance with the Mayor’s budget direction, we submitted a proposed budget that identified reductions equaling approximately 5% of our ongoing General Fund Budget (approximately $3.27 million). Our Requested Budget closely mirrored the recommendations of the Parks Budget Advisory Committee (BAC).

City Budget Office Budget Review
After we submitted our Requested Budget, it was reviewed by the City Budget Office (CBO) whose job is to analyze and highlight the key budget and program performance issues that the CBO believes Council should consider during the budget process. Recently, the CBO released their review of our budget. In their Budget Review, the City Budget Office recommended to that Council take 4% of the reductions submitted by PP&R. This would amount to reducing the PP&R budget by $2.1 million. This level of cuts will significantly impact our programs. In addition to the ongoing General Fund reductions, the CBO also recommends an ongoing increase to our major maintenance funds and some one-time funding for campsite cleanups and capital projects.

Several of you have asked why we are making cuts when the economy appears to be doing well.  While we are in a period of economic growth, the CBO is forecasting a $1.5 million gap to the citywide Ongoing General Fund due to higher inflation, labor costs and PERS. In order to offset the $1.5 million ongoing deficit and create room for priority investments (including housing and public safety), the CBO recommends $5.0 million in ongoing reductions citywide. A net reduction of $2.1 million from the PP&R budget will make up almost half of the recommended General Fund reductions. We are disappointed that the CBO review shows PP&R taking this level of General Fund reduction. If taken, these reductions would impact almost every segment of our organization.

Our Requested Budget was strongly grounded in the Values developed and adopted by successive BAC’s. After years of refinement, the Values reflect our commitment to equity, safety, strategic thinking, partnerships, maintenance, core programming and volunteerism. A $2.1 million reduction to our budget would severely limit our ability to deliver core programs and services.

The Budget Process—NEXT STEPS

On Friday, March 16, PP&R participated in a work session with City Council where PP&R presented the impacts of the reductions on our work and our proposed Add Packages. In the coming months, the following steps will take place:

  • April 3 & 17, Community Budget Forums—There are several community budget forums where you, as Portlanders, can give direct budget feedback to City Council
    • April 3, 2018, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
      David Douglas High School
      1001 SE 135th Avenue, 97233
    • April 17, 2018, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
      Roosevelt High School
      6941 N Central Street, 97203
  • April 30, Release of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget—Mayor Wheeler will use the information provided by the CBO, PP&R staff, and the public to develop the Mayor’s Proposed Budget.
  • Finalizing an Adopted Budget—City Council will then deliberate, a Budget Committee hearing will be held on May 10, and Council expects to continue to hear testimony from you, the community, and then they will approve the City Budget on May 16, 2018.
    • May 10, 2018, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, hearing to receive public testimony
      Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
      1221 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
    • May 16, 2018, 2:00pm, Council Action to approve City Budget, testimony heard
      Council Chambers, Portland City Hall
      1221 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

I know that the budget process can be difficult, especially with the possible reductions that are on the table for discussion. Several of these are programs and sites for which you, as our Friends & Partners, care deeply and already work hard to partner with us on. 

If you have questions regarding the budget or the budget process, please let your liaison know or reach out to Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong at elizabeth.kennedy-wong@portlandoregon.gov

My best to you and thank you again for your work each day,

Mike Abate
Portland Parks and Recreation

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