Beaverton city budget adds employees but tax rate is unchanged
Beaverton is considering a city budget that proposes no tax increase and adds about a dozen employees to the city workforce in the year starting July 1.
The budget committee consists of the mayor, five elected councilors and six public members. It will hear public testimony on May 23 before it recommends a budget.
Although the all-funds budget will go up from a projected $289.2 million to $327.5 million, and 13 positions will be added, Mayor Denny Doyle's spending plan would leave intact the current city tax rate of $4.22 per $1,000 of taxable property value. That's 40 cents below the allowed maximum.
"We all know that government is more challenging," Doyle said, referring not only to priorities of the mayor, council and staff but also external factors such as the increased costs of contributions by member governments to Oregon's public-pension system.
As a result, Beaverton's pension contributions went up by $1.2 million, just under 3%, in the proposed budget.
Doyle said $6 million in department requests were cut from the spending plan presented to the budget committee on Monday, May 13.
The citywide rate excludes the 20 cents that voters approved for bonds for a new Public Safety Center, which is scheduled for completion in 2020. When voters did so in 2016, the new measure succeeded the 1996 library bond, which will be paid off on June 1, so there is no tax rate increase.
The committee also will review the budget for the Beaverton Urban Redevelopment Agency (BURA), which will go up from $15.5 million to $25.3 million. Taxable property value within the urban renewal district has grown by 17.9 percent, compared with 2.8 percent citywide.
The city within the next year will sell $21 million in bonds for the city's contribution to the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts — repaid by the city's lodging tax of 6.5 percent — and $30 million in bonds for water system improvements. Water customers will repay those bonds, which will raise money for Beaverton's initial participation in a regional agency to deliver up to 5 million gallons per day from the Willamette River to the city by 2026. Beaverton's total commitment to that project ultimately will cost about $60 million.
A special revenue bond, backed by BURA and also planned within the next year, will raise money for the seven-story parking garage that will be built next to the Reser Center and pay off a line of credit approved in 2017.
The budget committee spent May 13 reviewing spending plans for public works, which is funded largely by sources other than property taxes, and the city attorney. It was scheduled on Thursday, May 16, to review budgets for police, library and several other departments.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)