BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors will tackle the city's budget in May. They'll hold a strategy session Wednesday to help formulate priorities for those budget talks.
Councilors will hear from different department directors and Mayor Pro Tem Sally Russell says they face tough choices. "We're catching up with ourselves for all the work the city wasn't able to do during the recession, when it made significant cuts throughout the city of Bend. And, the overall income for the city of Bend, in terms of supporting those services and those needs, hasn't increased at a rate that has been able to keep up with either the expectations or the needs of the city. So, these are all really, really had decisions." She tells KBND News, "We will continue to look for ways to go in with a scalpel, find where we can move our discretionary funds from one area to another, without seriously upsetting or disturbing or diminishing critical services for the city of Bend. It's a balancing act."
Councilor Justin Livingston says they'll get a broad overview of their options, "We're going to be looking at more enterprise-type funds; so, we'll be looking at utilities, transportation CIPs, which are more SDCs but less discretionary-type funds; in addition to some growth plans and then also internal services, which is the overhead of the city." He says they'll also look at road projects that have been in the works for a while, like Murphy Road and Empire. He believes the city will have $15-$20 million to spend on some of those projects. Livingston says, "We might give some direction of things that we want to see. But, this is more setting the stage for the Budget Committee meetings that will occur in May."
Wednesday's strategy session takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bend Municipal Court on 15th Street.