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Portland Water Bureau

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Mayor's Proposed Budget Supports Water Bureau Requests; Budget Adoption Scheduled for June 18

By Lindsay Wochnick

As the steward of the city’s 120-year old water system, the Portland Water Bureau developed and recommended to the Portland City Council and our customers a budget that allows it to continue to meet its mission of providing clean, safe, and affordable drinking water to our customers.

Requested Budget Submittal
On February 2, the FY 2015-16 Portland Water Bureau Requested Budget was submitted to the City Budget Office.  

A Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) -- comprised of representatives of key stakeholders that included members of the community and labor representatives -- worked alongside Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff and Group directors and managers to develop the consensus FY 2015-16 budget per City of Portland guidelines. Representatives of the Portland Utility Review Board (PURB) and the Citizens‘ Utility Board (CUB) also participated in the process along with members of the public.

Mayor’s Proposed Budget
On May 5, Mayor Charlie Hales released the FY 2015-16 Mayor’s Proposed Budget. The proposed budget supports the following Portland Water Bureau requests

Rate Increase Position & Staff Realignment Position Supporting PUB
Increase rates by seven (7) percent. Position authority for an additional 1.0 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) for a second full-time ranger position in the Bull Run Watershed, additional  0.50 FTE office support specialist II (OSSII) and the elimination of a full-time permanent OSSII position. Provide funding for a position in the City Budget Office that will directly support the Portland Utility Board (PUB) administratively and analytically, funding to be equally shared with the Bureau of Environmental Services.

Rate Ordinance
The first hearing before City Council for the FY 2015-16 Water Rate Ordinance was May 21 and the second reading was on May 27. City Council approved the Water Rate Ordinance authorizing water and water related rates and charges beginning July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

The approved retail rate increase is seven (7) percent and will increase the volume rate from $3.682 per hundred cubic feet (ccf) to $3.940 per ccf (or $0.258 per ccf). The base (billing) charge for quarterly billed residential customers will increase from $11.13 to $11.91 (or $0.78) per month. The typical residential customer using 5 ccf per month will pay $31.61, an increase of $2.07 per month, or seven (7) percent greater than the current bill.

Public Involvement
Each year, members of the public are invited to be engaged and provide feedback in the budget development process both for the city and for individual bureaus. For the FY 2015-16 budget, public participation opportunities included:

  • Citywide budget events were held in March, April, and May 2015. Events included a City Utility Rate Review meeting, Community Budget Forums, and a Budget Committee Public Hearing.
  • The second annual City Utility Rate Review meeting occurred on March 12. Members of the public were invited to provide feedback and pose questions regarding the FY 2015-16 proposed drinking water and sewer-storm water rates.
  • The Water Bureau also convened the BAC to guide the bureau's budget-making process. BAC meetings were open to the public and occurred in October, November, and December 2014 and in January 2015.

Next Steps
The City Council is scheduled to adopt the FY 2015-16 Budget on Thursday, June 18. For additional information on budget events, visit the City Budget Office’s webpage.


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