BDS’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 budget request continues to work its way through the City’s approval process. Our request included two Budget Directives from Mayor Wheeler seeking General Fund support for Land Use Services ($1.2 million) and for a strategic planning process for BDS and other City bureaus involved in development review ($60,000).
However, after reviewing our budget request, the City Budget Office (CBO) recommended that the City Council not approve the two Budget Directives. We met with City Council on March 14 to discuss our Requested Budget and the CBO’s recommendations, and we are now waiting for Mayor Wheeler to release his Proposed Budget in early May.
Remaining events in the FY 2019-20 budget process include:
- May 6 – Mayor’s Proposed Budget released
- June 12 – City Council vote on Adopted Budget
- July 1 – FY 2019-20 Budget goes into effect
You can find budget information and links to BDS’s budget and financial plan documents on the City Budget Office website. If you have questions about the budget, please contact BDS Finance Manager Kyle O’Brien (503-823-7323 or BDS Sr. Business Operations Manager Elshad Hajiyev (503-823-7338.
BDS collects fees to fund inspections, plan review, permit issuance, land use review, customer assistance, and other functions. Since 1988, construction-related programs operated by BDS (approximately 90% of bureau functions) have been primarily self-supporting. BDS Finance staff closely tracks bureau revenues and expenditures. For the last five years, most BDS fees have remained unchanged, and some have even decreased.
However, our personnel costs have grown substantially over the last few years, both from staff additions (to address historically high workloads) and from inflation. As a result, some bureau programs are now underfunded. We have employed a number of cost-saving measures, but have determined that some fee increases will be necessary in FY 2019-20 in order to maintain BDS’s financial health.
BDS is dependent on fees for 98% of its revenues, and there are restrictions on transferring funds between programs. Fees are therefore evaluated on a program by program basis. Overall, fees are increasing approximately 5%, but specific fees may increase more or less than that amount. The proposed fee schedules are now posted on the BDS website at www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/79065.
The Portland City Council will review and listen to public testimony regarding the proposed fee increases at 10:15 a.m. on May 15, 2019 at City Hall, 1220 SW 5th Avenue. Council will vote on the changes on May 22, 2019. If the ordinance is passed the fee increases will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
Multnomah County fees will also be affected, since the County contracts with the City of Portland for inspection and plan review services in the unincorporated areas within the Portland urban services boundary. The County Board of Commissioners will review the proposed fee increases in June (date to be determined) in the County Board Room, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., first floor.