Memorial Day closure

Most City of Portland offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of Memorial Day.

Parks Levy Oversight Committee (PLOC) Meeting February 2024

Public Meeting
5:30 pm 7:30 pm

Year 3, Meeting 3


5:30 - 5:40Welcome and Ice BreakerAll
5:40 - 5:55Administrative ItemsClaire Flynn
5:55 - 6:00FY 2023-24 Estimated Quarterly ActualsClaire Flynn
6:00 - 6:45FY 2024-25 Requested BudgetSarah Huggins, Todd Lofgren, Bob Del Gizzi
6:45 - 6:50BREAKAll
6:50 - 7:30FY 2024-25 PLOC Budget LetterClaire Flynn

Oversight Committee Members –

  • Alescia Blakeley
  • Mary Ruble
  • Silas Sanderson
  • Tim Williams
  • Zay Conant

Parks Board Liaison – Casey Mills, not in attendance (meeting materials shared)

PP&R Staff –

  • Todd Lofgren | Deputy Director
  • Sarah Huggins | Sustainable Future Program Manager
  • Bob Del Gizzi | Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis
  • Claire Flynn | Levy Coordinator

Members of the Public –

  • Tim Dinehart, City Budget Office
Materials Sent in Advance

Claire Flynn, Levy Coordinator welcomed participants and lead the group through an icebreaker.

Administrative Items

Claire reviewed materials and items that were sent to the Parks Levy Oversight Committee in advance of the meeting.

  1. An overview and update of the Bond and Levy Feasibility Study completed at the end of 2023, in partnership with Portland Fire & Rescue. The poll looked at voter support for renewal of the parks levy, which polled at 70% (76% with a little information), and also for a bond, which could be used for capital maintenance, which polled highest at 62% for a combined parks and fire bond. In the short term, Portland Parks & Recreation and Portland Fire & Rescue will work together to conduct community engagement over the coming months to learn more about how best to invest in parks and recreation and fire and rescue services in Portland.
    • Mary Ruble asked when PP&R would do future polling.
      • Sarah Huggins, Sustainable Future Program manager, shared that it depends on what moves forward and when. For example, if a Parks Levy renewal was put forward, it would be for continued delivery so additional polling may not be needed.
  2. Claire noted that she sent materials around PP&R’s ‘colors of money’, and that Sarah would also review colors of money in her presentation update.
  3. Claire also noted that she sent a history of budgetary decisions related to the Parks Levy, from the first budgetary decisions made since it was approved by Portland voters until the most recent budget decisions.
  4. As the Parks Levy is new funding source for PP&R, PP&R has set up new tracking and accounting procedures. In December and January, the bureau engaged the consulting firm Merina+CO to review these financial procedures and controls and asked them to make recommendations around refinements we could make to further improve. The Parks Levy Oversight Committee received the final memo. Claire noted that the recommendations made in the memo will further strengthen Parks Levy financial procedures and will be implemented by the end of March.

Claire also shared a timeline and date range for the next PLOC meeting.

FY 2023-24 Estimated Quarterly Actuals

Claire gave the PLOC an estimate of Parks Levy spending in Q1 and Q2 of fiscal year 2023-24. Due to the nature of the Leveraged Funding Model, the percent of Parks Levy funding spend on program and service expenses won’t be determined until the end of the fiscal year. The final percentage of Parks Levy funding and actual amount can only be determined when the total year-end spend and program revenue are finalized. Any savings or underspending, even in non-levy-related areas, acts to reduce the amount of levy resource required, since more General Fund is available to cover more of the levy-eligible services. To show an estimate of Parks Levy spending for FY22-23 Q1 and Q2, PP&R used the budgeted percentage between General Fund and Parks for Parks Levy supported services. PP&R expects the Parks Levy spending for FY 2022-23 to be less than originally budgeted.

  • Tim Williams asked for clarification about how the Parks Levy blend percentage is applied.
    • Claire confirmed that the actual Parks Levy dollars are spent at the end of the fiscal year as a reimbursement cash transfer.
    • Sarah also clarified that the blend percentage means that no service area or work group is fully supported by the Parks Levy and any underspending means a higher spending of General Fund to preserve Parks Levy funding for future years.
  • Mary asked for clarification on percentages – specifically, with the Parks Levy is supporting 1/3 of the bureau’s operating budget, if more Parks Levy was spent, could General Fund dollars be used elsewhere (in non-Levy eligible expenses) for other purposes?
    • Todd Lofgren, Deputy Director, shared that PP&R is intentionally not moving General Fund dollars away from operations to avoid having the Parks Levy supplant General Fund and to keep the Parks Levy as a final resource on top of existing funding sources.
    • Mary noted that she would like to know the philosophy behind that, specifically with a large capital maintenance need, would there be a way to use General Fund dollars more creatively to balance funding needs.
      • Sarah clarified that the General Fund dollars have flexibility but City Council made commitments to voters to see the Parks Levy as an incremental resource on top of General Fund so that those General Fund dollars would not be taken away from PP&R operations and used for other bureaus or other Parks programs to preserve and fulfil the commitments of the Parks Levy.
  • Silas Sanderson noted that the past years of the Parks Levy saw some underspending and asked if and how that underspending would affect a Parks Levy renewal.
    • Sarah shared that PP&R has done projections over the next 10 years, pending a Parks Levy renewal, that show that holding the same Parks Levy rate with spending over the next 10 years would result in a negative balance for the final years of a second five-year levy term. Therefore, preservation at this point in the Parks Levy is essential to seeing Parks Levy commitments met in later years.
    • Todd clarified that, without Parks Levy renewal, PP&R will face a financial cliff and would have to cut services and operations. With the current underspending balance of about a year of Parks Levy revenue, PP&R can extend services by a year without renewal.
  • Tim asked if the slide is public information and suggested that the financial status be called something other than “actuals” to avoid confusion.
    • Claire suggested alternative titles and clarified that, while the Parks Levy blend percentage applied is an estimated/budgeted percent, it is being applied to actual expenditures.
    • Sarah added that the numbers are what has actually been spent. The dollars represent actual dollars. However, the percentage of the actuals that are going to be spent as Parks Levy or as General Fund is decided at the end of the fiscal year.
    • Bob Del Gizzi, Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis, added that the final percent is a result of the sequence in which resources are expended. Revenue and fees are spent first, then budgeted General Fund, and then the Parks Levy funding is applied on the top at the very end in order to reach the full amount to equal expenditures.
FY 2024-25 Requested Budget

Sarah Huggins, Sustainable Futures Program Manager started the presentation with an overview of PP&R’s different funding sources and need. PP&R is working towards achieving a sustained, annual funding level in today’s (FY23) dollars of approximately $235 million. $255 million if we consider adding a new service of street tree maintenance. This includes the need for sustained operations (of which the Parks Levy provides approximately 1/3 of operating funding needs), capital maintenance, and capital growth.

  • Operating Funding Sources: The majority of PP&R’s current operating budget comes from the City General Fund (over half), and from the Parks Levy (nearly 1/3). The Parks Levy is an operating levy, so can only be used for operations, not for capital projects. Other operating revenues include services and charges, interagency revenue, intergovernmental (grants), licenses and permits, and miscellaneous.
  • Capital Growth Sources: Expansion and growth of PP&R assets and facilities is largely covered by System Development Charges–one-time impact fees charged to new development. As impact fees, this funding is restricted to be used to add new capacity to the park system to keep pace with needs generated by that new development –i.e. they can be used to acquire, build, add to parks and the park system, not to maintain.
  • Capital Maintenance Funding Sources: PP&R receives nearly $5 million annually, ongoing, from the General Fund for capital maintenance. Council has directed us to continue asking for $500 million more each year to build on this amount and has adopted those one-time additions in several years. The bureau has also received funding in several fiscal years to complete capital maintenance project from Build Portland and capital set-aside resources. PP&R is currently wrapping up the $68 million replacement Bond passed by Portland Voters in 2014 and over the next years, will receive $32 million from the Metro Bond. Despite these sources, capital maintenance actual expenditures have historically been well below what target would be for PP&R asset portfolio, causing the capital maintenance backlog to grow.
    • Mary asked if the Parks Replacement Bond will continue into 2025 and Sarah shared that the Bond is wrapping up with 51 of the 52 projects having been successfully completed to date.

Tim Dinehart, with the City Budget Office, asked about the siloing of System Development Charges (SDCs) and if PP&R had explored how to apply SDCs to existing spaces.

  • Sarah shared that SDCs are specifically designed as an impact fee to relieve the pressure of new development causing added residents or users on the existing system, specifically how new capacity would be needed to support a higher density of people. Maintenance of existing structures are not qualified because maintenance on existing structures would generally need to occur regardless of increased residents or population. PP&R has been able to intensify the way the existing facilities (instead of just building new amenities) are able to be used.
  • Mary asked if SDCs are a pool of money that PP&R applies to or if it is allocated by bureau.
    • Sarah noted that Portland has four SDC programs: transportation, water, sewer, and parks. PP&R manages the parks SDC program and City Council adopts an SDC capital improvement project (CIP) – a list of all the capacity project that could be done with SDC. The commissioner in charge of parks can chance timing and sequencing on the list but city council is the authority on what gets added to the list.
  • Silas Sanderson asked if Portland’s SDC program is in any way unique from other states or municipalities. Are there different ways that the same framework/lens is applied?
    • Sarah shared that each state sets its own statue around SDCs and that there doesn’t seem to be any examples of states who have applied SDCs to maintenance, but there are some examples use for acquisition only.

Todd Lofgren, Deputy Director, presented the context for the FY 2024-25 Requested Budget. This included:

  • An overview of the Mayor’s budget guidance, specifically – restructuring to support a Vibrant Communities service area, taking a 5% General Fund reduction, implementing charter reform, developing a Single Permitting Authority, providing options for spending down the Parks Levy with sustainable funding for operating costs, identifying opportunities for Portland Clean Energy Fund dollars, and discussing natural resource management.
  • The role of the Parks Levy Oversight Committee will not change with the reorganization under the Vibrant Communities service area – per the PLOC charter and bylaws, the PLOC will advise the Parks Director and provide oversight and implementation of the Parks Levy.

Bob Del Gizzi, Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis, presented the service area budgets, key financial issues, and how they are addressed in the FY 2024-25 budget request:

  • Bob shared the composition of PP&R revenues across all funds – General Fund, Parks Levy, capital fund, enterprise funds, and several others. He also showed the breakdown of expenses in the current fiscal year between personnel, capital materials and services, and internal materials and services.
  • The financial challenges and issues include key revenue reductions from the 5% General Fund cut and a reduced Parks Levy financial forecast based on updated property values. Between the General Fund cuts and compression loss, PP&R will need to close a $10+ million ongoing gap over the next several years. Other key considerations include a renewal of the levy to continue funding in 2026 and beyond, the large and growing deferred maintenance gap, and the use of Portland Clean Energy Fund investment.
  • PP&R will use the Parks Levy fund balance to manage the gap in funding over the next several years. Overall, the Vibrant Communities service area will be looking at using existing vacancies as opportunities to realign, gain efficiencies, and reduce budgets without layoffs.
  • Requested budget decision packages included a few adjustments related to the Parks Levy:
    • In PP&R’s Lands Stewardship division, it is proposed to add 3 FTE to address span of control issues in the City Nature group.
    • There are a couple of decision packages that would indirectly affect Parks Levy expenses because of the Leveraged Funding Model and waterfall nature of Parks Levy spending: 1) a decision package to create the office of the Vibrant Communities Chief of Staff office and 2) Portland Clean Energy Fund investment resources that could provide some funding relief to Parks Levy expenses related to Protect and Grow Nature.

The PLOC did not have any clarifying questions.

FY 2024-25 PLOC Budget Letter

Claire shared the letter purpose and drafting process with the PLOC.

The PLOC shared the following thoughts for the FY 2024-25 Requested Budget PLOC letter:

  • Mary asked for confirmation that PP&R is spending as much of the Parks Levy dollars as possible in the upcoming budget in order to provide the services that were committed to in the ballot language.
    • Todd shared that, for FY 2024-25, PP&R is still growing with the finalizing of Parks Levy ramp up investments and Portland Clean Energy Fund support. However at some point, because of the 5% General Fund cut and the updated compression impact to the Parks Levy, there is a downward pressure in the forecast that will need to be solved for by reducing expenses over time or finding other revenue. The Parks Levy will need to be renew ed to continue services at this level and, even if renewed at the same mill rate, the forecast years-out shows a deficit.
      • Zay asked what would happen if the Parks Levy is not renewed. Todd noted that the latest date that the Parks Levy could be renewed would be May 2026. If not renewed, the Bureau would need to decrease operations by 1/3. Zay asked and Todd also confirmed that the Parks Levy funds can be spent beyond the collection timeframe. Todd noted that, in decreasing the budget by 1/3, at that time, PP&R would no longer be able to meet Parks Levy commitments. Sarah suggested, if renewal and continuation of Parks Levy funding is a consideration that the PLOC think that City Council should be aware of, that could be included in the PLOC letter.
  • Silas commended PP&R for getting spending levels balanced and looking forward towards full capacity and spend down. He also noted that there is general fatigue in Portland around new taxes and levies—sharing that it is important that PP&R demonstrate positive stories, Parks Levy impact, and financial accountability in spending down the Parks Levy.
  • Mary agreed and emphasized that more can be done to educate the community about the Parks Levy supporting 1/3 of PP&R’s operating budget. Portlanders should understand that the parks system that they are comfortable with cannot be fully supported by General Fund at this level and that a levy and bond are needed for PP&R to successfully provide services.
    • Silas added that even signage around in-person activities and services crediting the Parks Levy could help educate Portlanders on what things have Parks Levy support.
  • Mary also encouraged that, over time, PP&R consider creatively leveraging other revenue avenues to spread Parks Levy impact. For example, using Portland Clean Energy Fund money to support Urban Forestry activities, including Parks Levy commitments, could mean more Parks Levy funding available for other commitments.
  • Tim asked if there was any information, aside from the Bond and Levy Feasibility Study, coming back from the public about awareness of the Parks Levy.
    • Todd noted that, from the polling, approval rating of PP&R services is over 70% but acknowledged that most people might not know that those services are provided with the support of the Parks Levy. However, the polling for renewal being around 76% is a high level of support and reflects positively for the Parks Levy.
    • Silas asked if polling considered variables such as a Parks Levy being on the same ballot as other funding initiatives or being referred immediately after other tax increases.
      • Sarah clarified that it was a poll of likely November 2024 voters but doesn’t include what other measures would be on the ballot or what would have been on the ballot in May 2024.
      • Todd shared that, generally, a straight renewal with no mill rate increase has high approval likelihood.
    • Tim asked if the factors would change in the years leading up to when the Parks Levy would need to be renewed for continuation.
      • Sarah shared that PP&R doesn’t have to wait until the last possible ballot to renew the levy and that the Parks Levy could be renewed early and written to not start collections until after 2026.
  • Zay reiterated that there should be more communication about the specifics of what the Parks Levy funds and noted that including concrete examples of Parks Levy supported programs in the letter could help communicate the importance of the Parks Levy.
    • Todd shared that the letter is also an opportunity to educate City Hall staffers and Council Offices on the Parks Levy and that using concepts from the PLOC Annual Report is a good start.  
    • Mary agreed that common language and specific examples will help tie the Parks Levy support to public experiences.
    • Zay also encouraged including what would happen without the Parks Levy in the letter or PLOC materials. Todd shared that new initiatives like Schools for Pools would not be possible without the Parks Levy.
  • Referring to the nearly $600 million in deferred maintenance, Mary shared that there can be general confusion in levy-eligible activities and why levy money can’t be used for certain repairs. The PLOC can mention that the Parks Levy is reducing negative issues related to daily maintenance but doesn’t structurally fix larger problems. Recent headlines regarding SDC development can be confusing when other facilities in the parks system are simultaneously failing.

Claire noted that these thoughts would be included in the PLOC draft letter for review, thanked all for attending, and adjourned the meeting.

Meaningful Access Statement

It is the policy of the City of Portland that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any city program, service, or activity on the grounds of race, color, national origin, disability, or other protected class status. Adhering to Civil Rights Title VI and ADA Title II civil rights laws, the City of Portland ensures meaningful access to City programs, services, and activities by reasonably providing: translation and interpretation, modifications, accommodations, alternative formats, and auxiliary aids and services. To request these services, contact 503-823-2525, or for Relay Service or TTY, contact 711.

Traducción e Interpretación (Spanish)

Es política de la Ciudad de Portland que ninguna persona sea excluida de participación, se le nieguen los beneficios, o esté sujeta a discriminación en ningún programa, servicio o actividad de la ciudad por motivos de raza, color, nacionalidad, discapacidad u otra condición de clase protegida. En cumplimiento con los Derechos Civiles Título VI y con las leyes de derechos civiles del ADA Título II, la Ciudad de Portland asegura el acceso significativo a programas, servicios y actividades de la ciudad al brindar de manera razonable: traducción e interpretación, modificaciones, adaptaciones, formatos alternativos y ayudas y servicios auxiliares. Para solicitar estos servicios, llame al 503-823-2525, al TTY de la ciudad o al servicio para las personas con problemas auditivos: 711.Solicitud de traducción o interpretación de PP&R

Biên Dịch và Thông Dịch (Vietnamese)

Chính sách của Thành Phố Portland là không ai bị loại khỏi, bị từ chối phúc lợi, hoặc bị phân biệt đối xử trong bất kỳ chương trình, dịch vụ hay hoạt động nào của thành phố dựa trên chủng tộc, màu da, nguồn gốc quốc gia, khuyết tật, hoặc tình trạng khác được pháp luật bảo vệ. Tuân theo Đạo Luật Dân Quyền (Civil Rights) Khoản VI và Đạo Luật ADA Khoản II, Thành Phố Portland đảm bảo sự tiếp cận hiệu quả đối với các chương trình, dịch vụ và hoạt động của thành phố bằng cách cung cấp một cách hợp lý: dịch vụ biên dịch và thông dịch, biện pháp điều chỉnh, sửa đổi, hình thức thay thế, và thiết bị và dịch vụ phụ trợ.  Để yêu cầu các dịch vụ này, hãy liên hệ 503-503-823-2525, Dịch Vụ Chuyển Tiếp: 711. Yêu Cầu Dịch Vụ Biên Dịch Hoặc Thông Dịch Liên Quan Đển PP&R

口笔译服务 (Simplified Chinese)

波特兰市的政策规定,任何人不得因种族、肤色、国籍、残疾或其他受保护的身份状态而被禁止参与任何城市计划、服务或活动或享有任何城市计划、服务或活动的福利,也不得被歧视。根据《民权法》第六章和 ADA 第二章“民权法”的规定,波特兰市须确保市民能够平等参与城市计划、服务和活动,为此要根据需要提供以下各项:口笔译服务、方案修改、住宿、替代格式、辅助工具和服务。如需申请这些服务,请致电 503-823-2525,转接服务:711。要求 PP&R 笔译或口译

Устный и письменный перевод (Russian)

Политика администрации Портленда запрещает отстранять от участия в городских программах и мероприятиях, отказывать в обслуживании и льготах или иным образом подвергать дискриминации на основании расы, цвета кожи, национальности, инвалидности или иного защищенного статуса. В соответствии с разделом VI Закона о гражданских правах и разделом II Закона о правах американских граждан с ограниченными возможностями администрация Портленда заботится о полноценном доступе жителей к городским программам, услугам и мероприятиям. При необходимости доступны устный и письменный перевод, адаптивные меры, специальные устройства, материалы в альтернативном формате и иные вспомогательные средства и услуги. Для заказа этих услуг свяжитесь с нами. Телефон: 503-823-2525; служба коммутируемых сообщений: 711. Запрос на письменный или устный перевод информации о PP&R

Turjumaad iyo Fasiraad (Somali)

Waxaa kucad siyasada Mgalaada Portland in qofna loodiidi karin kaqaybgalka, loodiidi karin gunooyinka, ama aan latakoori karin wax kamid ah barnaamijyada magalaada, adeegga, ama shaqo sababo laxariira isirkiisam midabkiisa, wadankiisa, naafonimadiisa, ama xaalad kale oo sharcigu difaacaayo. Ayadoo raacaysa Sharciga Xaquuqda Madaniga ah ee Title VI iyo ADA Title II ee sharciyada xaquuqda madaniga ah, Magaalada Portland waxay xaqiijinaysaa barnaamijyo lawada heli karo oo macno leh ayna bixiso magaaladu, adeegyo, iyo shaqooyin ayadoo si sax ah ubixinaysa: turjumaad iyo soojeedin, isbadalo, adeegyo caawimaad ah, noocyo kaladuwan, iyo caawimaado iyo adeegyo dheeri ah. Si aad ucodsato adeegyadaan, wac 503-823-2525, Adeegga Caawimada: 711.

Письмовий і усний переклад (Ukrainian)

Згідно з політикою міста Портленд, жодну особу не можна позбавляти права на участь, відмовляти їй у матеріальній допомозі або піддавати її дискримінації в будь-якій програмі, службі чи діяльності міста на підставі раси, кольору шкіри, етнічного походження, інвалідності або іншого статусу захищених класів. Дотримуючись законів про права громадян, а саме розділу VI Прав громадян і розділу ІІ Закону про права американських громадян з обмеженими можливостями, місто Портленд забезпечує значний доступ до програм, служб і заходів міста, надаючи такі послуги: письмовий і усний переклад, модифікування, адаптування, альтернативні формати, додаткову допомогу й інше. Запитати ці послуги можна, скориставшись контактними даними: 503-823-2525, служба комутаційних повідомлень: 711.

Traducere și interpretariat (Romanian)

Este politica orașului Portland ca nicio persoană să nu fie exclusă din programe, servicii sau activități ale orașului, să nu i se refuze acestea și să nu facă obiectul unor discriminări pe bază de rasă, culoare, naționalitate, dizabilități sau alte situații vizând categorii protejate. Respectând legile privind drepturile civile „Civil Rights” (Drepturile Civile), articolul VI, și „ADA” (Americans with Disabilities Act - Legea privind americanii cu dizabilități), articolul II, orașul Portland asigură acces adecvat la programe, servicii și activități ale orașului oferind, în mod rezonabil: servicii de traducere și interpretariat, modificări, cazare, formate diferite, ajutoare și servicii auxiliare. Pentru a solicita aceste servicii, contactați 503-823-2525, Serviciu de retransmitere: 711.

अनुवादनतथाव्याख्या (Nepali)

पोर्टल्यान्डको शहरको नीति हो कि कुनै पनि व्यक्तिलाई जाति, रङ, राष्ट्रिय मूल, असक्षमता वा अन्य संरक्षित वर्गीकरण स्थितिको आधारमा कुनै पनि शहरका कार्यक्रम, सेवा वा क्रियाकलापमा सहभागी हुन भेदभाव गरिने, वञ्चित गरिने, लाभहरू प्रदान गर्नबाट अस्वीकार गरिनेछैन। नागरिक अधिकार शीर्षक VI र ADA शीर्षक II नागरिक अधिकारको कानूनहरूको पालना गर्दै, पोर्टल्यान्डको शहरले शहरका कार्यक्रमहरू, सेवाहरू र क्रियाकलापहरूमा बराबर पहुँच निश्चय गर्नको लागि निम्न प्रदान गर्दछ: अनुवादन र व्याख्या, परिमार्जन, आवास, वैकल्पिक ढाँचाहरू र सहायक सामग्री र सेवाहरू। यी सेवाहरू अनुरोध गर्नको लागि 503-823-2525, रिले सेवा: 711 मा सम्पर्क गर्नुहोस्।

Chiaku me Awewen Kapas (Chuukese)

Mi annuk non ewe City of Portland pwe esap wor emon esap etiwa an epwe fiti, esap angei feiochun, are epwe kuna iteingau non meinisin an ew tetenimw kewe mokutukut, aninnis, are mwich nongonong won i chon ia, enuan, chon menni muu, weiresin inis, are pwan ew tapin aramas mi auchea are pisekisek. Fan itan an fiti Civil Rights Title VI me ADA Title II annuken pungun manau, ewe City of Portland mi ennetata pwe epwe wor etiwaoch ngeni an ewe tetenimw mokutukut, aninnis, me mwichren an aworaochu: chiaku me awewen kapas, ekkesiwin, etufich, sokonon napanap, me pwan ekkoch minen awewe me aninnis. Ika ka mochen ekkei pekin aninnis, kokori 503-823-2525, Fon Fan Itan Ekkewe mi wor Ar Osukosukan Manau: 711.