Portland Mayor Charlie Hales unveiled his budget proposal Tuesday morning, confirming that the city faces a more than $21 million eficit for the coming biennium. OPB's April Baer says cuts are on the way:
"Hales said he was trying to prioritize some kinds of basic services, including the housing bureau's safety net, but he also said there were definitely going to be layoffs coming, especially in the Portland Police Bureau. That's an area that's escaped the budget ax in years past," she said.
The police bureau is likely facing some layoffs and cuts.
"He also indicated that there would be cuts to some programs that people hold near and dear -- the mounted patrol for the police bureau, the Buckman Pool -- are on the cutting block for now. Other programs like SUN schools would be preserved. There's still a lot of work to do, though. There are several budget meetings at which the public will be able to weigh in on these cuts. The council's expected to finalize the budget in June," Baer reported.
From the Mayor's budget page
Other major changes in the budget include:
The budget largely safeguards the patrol officers, gang enforcement and neighborhood response team positions in the Police Bureau. It maintains most of the city's dedicated school resource officers. It keeps most of the property crimes unit, which had been listed for elimination under the Police Bureau's original budget proposal.
But among the tough decisions was the elimination of a popular program: the horse patrol.
The budget also would eliminate city funding for Multnomah County's Crisis Assessment and Treatment Center, shifting full funding responsibility for this mental health program to the county. Portland Police have been prohibited from taking people to the facility because of intergovernmental rules.
The mayor's budget rejected a proposal from the bureau to close up to seven fire stations. Under Hales' proposed budget, all stations would remain open.
PROGRAMS FUNDED, NOT FUNDED
Among the programs that remain fully or partially funded under the mayor's proposals:
"The hardest part of the budget was picking those programs we just cannot fund this year," Hales said. "In most cases, it was picking one great program over another great program. There are no easy answers." Those programs facing elimination in his proposed budget include:
This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.