Apr 18, 2006

Troutdale Budget Committee, Round One

Last night the Troutdale Budget Committee met for the first time to deliberate the proposed 2006-07 city budget. The proposed budget isn't online, but you can download previous budgets here.

I didn't see anyone from the general public stop by, except for Gresham Outlook ace reporter Erin Shea. It's too bad, Troutdale residents, because we want your input. We're spending your hard earned tax dollars and we'd like to know how you want us to spend it.

Troutdale Finance Director Kathy Leader and City Administrator John Anderson delivered the budget message. There were no real surprises, but some good news: there should be no increases in utility rates for 2006-07.

Troutdale's total levy amount could very well decrease by $.066 per $1000 of TAV from the previous year. Not bad. (Knock on wood.)

Now the bad news: The PERS employer rate remains at 17.19%. Finance Director Leader said that PERS Tier 1 and II member employer rates could increase to between 19-21% of payroll beginning July 1, 2007.

Fire service costs will increase by $143,000 or 13%. Troutdale's fire service is provided via a contract with the City of Gresham. The Troutdale City Council previously agreed to a 10 year contract with Gresham. The contract allowed for a two year phase in of the increase in fire service costs in Troutdale.

Subsequent year fire service increases after 2006-07 will be 3.5% for the next three years, and 4% increase the next 4 years. Gresham raised their rates, but they weren't really interested in giving Troutdale any sweetheart rates. These increased fire costs could very well lead to a levy request at a future election.

Some of the proposed capital outlay for 2006-07 includes the following:

Sewer Treatment Site Redevelopment: $2.6 million
Park Land Site Purchases: $1 million
New Well: $600k
Relocate Parks & Facilities Division: $400k
Sunrise Park Improvements: $250k
Upsize Columbia River Highway water lines: $200k

Tonight and Wednesday, we will be going over the budget with a fine-toothed comb.

I have heard through the grape vine that there may be a proposal to give Mayor Thalhofer an increase of his $6000/yr. stipend. This would be a big mistake. He shouldn't be getting the stipend in the first place. Take a look around. In almost all other small cities like Troutdale, serving as Mayor is a volunteer job.

I also have heard that there may be a last-minute request for $45,000 to go toward the construction of a decorative arch at the entrance of historic Troutdale. This is a lot of money to ask for at the last minute. I'm not inclined to vote for such last minute budget items. Especially when we're trying to keep our police and parks departments fully funded.

That's all for now. Troutdale Citizens- we're meeting at 7pm tonight and tomorrow night at the City Conference Building, 223 S. Buxton, Troutdale. Come on down and tell us how to, or NOT how to spend your money.

If you can't make it to a meeting, Call the city at 503-665-5175 and tell us what's on your mind. Or e-mail us at info@ci.troutdale.or.us.

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