The city has created an electronic "Suggestion Box" to solicit ideas for the budget.
Audit of Portland Streetcar: City Bears Financial Burden, Operational Risk
THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014 – The City of Portland bears a financial burden and operational risk while relying on outside partners in running the Portland Streetcar, according to an audit released today by City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade.
“We found the City needs to apply more management control to meet its legal and contractual requirements, protect the public interest, and explicitly link the City’s enterprise-wide goals to more detailed Portland Streetcar plans,” Griffin-Valade said.
Mayor Charlie Hales praised the audit and the Auditor’s Office, for the work that went into the report.
The City’s partnership arrangement for Portland Streetcar is complex, according to the audit. The ownership and operations responsibilities are characterized in various ways, even within the City’s own records. Ultimately, Portland Streetcar is owned and operated by the City through the Portland Bureau of Transportation.
“After years of system growth, the City needs to focus on aligning its mission, strategic direction and partnership structure to ensure the success of Portland Streetcar operations,” Griffin-Valade said.
The audit makes several recommendations including that City Council defer future Portland Streetcar system expansion decisions until the Transportation Bureau has developed a Portland Streetcar mission and strategic plan, new contract agreements, and improved transparency in financial reporting.
Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick’s response, and the bureau’s response, are included in the report.
Budget Forums Slated
FRIDAY, APRIL 26 2013 -- The city of Portland will hold three forums to hear citizens’ input on city spending in May, before the City Council adopts the 2013-14 budget.
Mayor Charlie Hales, city commissioners and city staff will listen to residents’ ideas on potential budget cuts and spending increases.
Those will be:
• Thursday, May 16, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Council Chambers, City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave.
• Saturday, May 18, 3 to 5 p.m., Warner Pacific College, 2219 S.E. 68th Ave.
• Thursday, May 23, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Jackson Middle School, 10625 S.W. 35th Ave.
To review budgets requested by city bureaus: www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/437463
Budget Help: Input sought on ways to save or generate money
MONDAY, FEB. 25 -- The city is looking at a shortfall of at least $25 million. Want to help?
Suggestions are needed on ways to trim money or to generate more revenue. Send suggestions to:
Subject Line: Budget Help
Copies of the proposed budgets are in the link below. The budget calendar can be found by clicking here.
Budget Details Available
THURSDAY, FEB. 28 -- The city has posted information regarding the 2013-14 budget online.
The information includes calendars for budget work sessions as well as the entire budget cycle through the end of the fiscal year. The requested budget for each bureau also is available.
The Portland City Council is beginning the weeks-long process of evaluating the requests and crafting a budget for the new year, which begins July 1.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 6 – Mayor Charlie Hales officially became the commissioner in charge of all Portland Bureaus. For about 90 days, anyway.
And now, the requested budgets for all city bureaus have been released.
“Each bureau crafts its own budgets,” Hales said. “And each bureau has been asked to present a budget at 90 percent of their current funding levels. Next, the City Council comes together to hash out these proposals. Our goal is to find a way out of a $25 million shortfall in the general fund. In that effort: We’re all in this together.”
The City Council will spend the next few months debating the budgets and looking to close a budget shortfall that could exceed initial estimates of $25 million.
Portland has an unusual governance system, in which each member of the City Council directly overseas bureaus. But starting this week, and extending for approximately three months, the council members, will focus on the city budget as a whole, not on selected portions of the city budget.
“We’re going to try this while we craft the next year’s budget,” Hales said. “I want the City Council members sitting together as a ‘board of directors,’ each equally vested in each bureau.”
Bureaus include: Planning and Sustainability; Development Services; Emergency Communications; Parks and Recreation; Police; Fire; and more.
Mayors Vera Katz and Tom Potter also adopted the all-bureaus-under-one-roof approach, at the start of their budget seasons.
“We are facing a general fund shortfall that could be much worse than $25 million,” Hales said. “We have to get our financial house in order.”