On February 1, 2016 the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) submitted its Requested Budget for fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 and its updated 5-Year Financial Plan. These documents provide updates on BDS' financial status and highlight its strategic direction and financial goals.
As in past years, BDS has sought input on its budget decisions from several sources, including employees and stakeholder groups such as the Development Review Advisory Committee (DRAC). A wide variety of suggestions were submitted on ways to enhance staffing and services, improve efficiency, and better harness technology resources. BDS management also met several times with the BDS Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), which was composed of stakeholders, community members, and BDS staff. The BDS Requested Budget was endorsed by both the DRAC and the BAC. The BDS Financial Advisory Committee, composed of independent economists and industry representatives, endorsed the financial models and projections that formed the basis of the 5-Year Financial Plan.
One of the reasons the DRAC was supportive of our budget request to add staff is that we have been making a concerted effort to keep fee increases to a minimum. In the last two budget cycles, we made no fee increases except for the Environmental Soils Program, which is addressing a significant deficit. For FY 2016-17, we have again pledged to make no fee increases except for Environmental Soils, and we have agreed to review our fees to consider whether decreases could be made in some areas.
The City Budget Office (CBO) is currently reviewing our budget request, and we have been responding to questions from the CBO seeking clarification on our proposals. This is a normal part of the budget process and helps the CBO better understand the rationale behind our requests. The CBO will make recommendations to City Council regarding our requests.
FY 2016-17 Requested Budget Summary
Our Requested Budget includes three requests for new funding, all related to the City’s General Fund:
- Decision Package 1 asks the City Council to restore the required 5% General Fund cut. This year the Mayor asked all City bureaus to submit 5% cuts in their General Fund appropriations. For BDS, this would take approximately $110,000 in funding from our Neighborhood Inspections and Land Use Services (LUS) Programs, impacting nuisance abatements and a partnership between LUS and Portland State. We’re asking the Council to restore those funds.
- Decision Package 2 requests ongoing General Fund support for two Senior Housing Inspector positions in the Extremely Distressed Properties Enforcement Program (EDPEP), along with $150,000 for nuisance abatements related to EDPEP. One of the positions was funded this past year with program reserves, while the other position would be new.
- Decision Package 3 requests ongoing General Fund support for three Housing Inspector positions in the Enhanced Rental Inspections Program. These positions were funded this past year with program reserves.
2016 Spring Budget Monitoring Process
We have also identified several needs for additional fee-supported staff positions to respond to continued workload growth and address remaining gaps in service delivery. In an effort to fill those positions sooner, we will be adding them through the City’s 2016 Spring Budget Monitoring Process (BMP), rather than in our FY 2016-17 Requested Budget. We are currently working on identifying the highest priority needs for additional positions. Our BMP request is due to the CBO on March 28, 2016.
Upcoming Budget Events
- April – May – Public budget forums (see http://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/69879)
- March 28 –2016 Spring BMP Request due
- March 29 – City Council reviews BDS’s FY 2016-17 Requested Budget (3:00 p.m.)
- May 10 – Mayor’s Proposed Budget released
- June 9 – City Council vote on Adopted Budget
- July 1 – FY 2016-17 Budget goes into effect
Detailed budget information is available on the BDS Budget & Financial Plan Information website at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/53730. You can also contact Mark Fetters at (503) 823-1028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.