05-21-2018  8:08 am      •     
The Skanner Report
Portland City Hall
By The Skanner News
Published: 03 May 2018

 

On Monday Mayor Ted Wheeler released a $553 million general fund budget Monday that calls for funding for 58 new police officers, an increase in funding for the Joint Office of Homeless Services and increases in the business tax as well as water and sewer rates.

Wheeler and the city council will discuss budget details in the coming week and then approve a final version.

The budget is viewable on the city's website. Here are some of the highlights:

  • A proposed increase in the city business tax, with an expanded small-business exemption;
  • A 9 percent water rate increase;
  • A 2 percent sewer fee increase;
  • Funding for 58 new sworn officer positions, including 52 for patrol, four for training and two for the Behavioral Health Unit, increasing the number of BHU teams from three to five;
  • A 10 percent increase in spending for the Joint Office of Homeless Services, to $31 million, much of which would be earmarked for programs that place people in permanent housing;
  • $300,000 to hire tax collectors to collect taxes from Portland businesses, which observers say are more than $9 million in arrears on city taxes;
  • $100,000 in ongoing funds to perform additional data collection and analysis relating to equity and diversity, including analysis of the Portland Police Bureau’s stops data and hiring decisions, and an additional $50,000 for a one-time partnership to analyze police stops data;
  • Authorization for two additional staff in the records division, to decrease the amount of time the city takes to fulfill public records requests;
  • The creation of a full-time community health manager within the fire department, dedicated to mitigating “high-utilizer 9-1-1 calls, providing homeless outreach, and providing community health outreach and education”;
  • The closure of Fulton Park (Southwest Portland) and Hillside (Northwest Portland community centers.

Wheeler told reporters Monday he will ask city bureaus to find places they can cut their budgets by 1 percent without harming services.

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