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Deschutes County Mulls Permit Increases

BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County department that issues permits for new development wants to increase its fees to cover an anticipated future budget shortfall. "Deschutes County’s Community Development Department is the only county department in Oregon that really tries to be fee dependent," says Director Peter Gutowsky. He told County Commissioners this week those permit requests are down between 1% and 30%, depending on the category, "CDD, right now, is experiencing some structural budget challenges as a fee-dependent department. And, this is a reflection on conservative budget estimates over a five-year period. And we have a shortfall of approximately $1.4 million."

Gutowsky is asking County Commissioners to consider raising the cost of most permits in its fiscal year 2025 budget. The biggest increases would be for electrical and land use applications, which could go up 18%. He also proposes wiping out eight positions in the department. "I want to emphasize that the Community Development Department is not proposing layoffs," he says, "These are unfilled positions that we want to eliminate, and it just reflects our budget challenges." He’d also like to transfer for around $244,000 from a reserve fund.  

"I want to underscore that CDD’s budget is not vulnerable immediately," says Gutowsky. "We’re not in a budgetary crisis now. It’s just: we’re aware of this kind of budget vulnerability, or structural challenge on the horizon - five, six, seven, eight years, assuming our budget projections, which are conservative, were to be somewhat accurate."

Commissioners will formally consider his request next month, when they discuss the budget for fiscal year ‘25. 


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