BEND, OR -- Like other cities in the region, Bend’s budget has taken a hit from this winter’s extreme weather. City Manager Eric King says staff and contractors have had to plan for a variety of issues. "We have had different version of this storm, from the heavy snow to structural concerns, to flooding concerns; it’s just had a lot of dimensions to it. I think we’ve also worked really well with our partners in Deschutes County, city of Redmond and really making sure that we’re taking a coordinated approach in responding to these series of storms."
Bend officials are now starting to get an idea of just how this winter’s severe storms have impacted city coffers. City Councilors approved an additional half million dollars for private contractors in December. King tells KBND News they've spent a little more than $671,000 of that $685,000 budget. "Every time we call out the contractors for a storm, it’s about a $100,000 to do so, and there’s probably been at least four or five call-outs in the last month and a half. We also had equipment needs pop up unexpectedly. We had a grader that reached the end of its life after 30 years, so we went to Council and approved the purchase of a new grader." Adding in city staff overtime and equipment maintenance in December, that price tag rises to nearly $725,000. King says January overtime costs are not yet available.
While savings in the last fiscal year are expected to cover most of this year’s additional expenses, King says they’re looking at future adjustments. "Transportation funding is one of our top Legislative priorities. The hope is that that the state Legislature puts together a transportation package. We’re not alone; there are many cities across Oregon - across the country – that are facing the same issue where you’re on the edge of just being able to keep up with deteriorating roads and then you have a bad winter and it depletes that budget further."