Unanimous vote follows approval of several amendments
On Wednesday, May 20, 2020, Portland City Council voted unanimously to approve Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Proposed Budget for FY 2020-21. The approval vote followed the incorporation of several amendments introduced by the commissioners.
“This was a budget unlike any other. The City faced a significant budget gap because of COVID-19, but we were able to close the majority of that gap because of smart financial leadership over the last few years,” Mayor Wheeler said. “I want to thank my Council colleagues for their hard work to ensure we prioritize the needs of our community in this new financial reality we’re facing due to the COVID-19 crisis.”
“I am pleased with the collaborative process my colleagues and I undertook to get us a city budget that positions us for a more resilient Portland post-COVID-19,” Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said. “I want to thank the community for the thoughtful questions and recommendations, and my colleagues, directors, staff, and labor partners for the willingness to make some hard decisions given the City’s financial landscape.”
The $5.6 billion budget addresses an anticipated $75 million gap from COVID-19-related revenue loss, closing almost 90 percent of that gap. As the financial picture becomes clearer in the coming months, bureaus will be working to identify the most thoughtful approach to help close the remaining gap and to fully balance the budget. Those actions will be taken following the fall Budget Monitoring Process to ensure the City emerges from the COVID-19 crisis more resilient and stronger as a community.
“In January, everyone had high hopes for a budget process with no cuts and the ability to fund some Council priorities. COVID-19 changed everything,” Commissioner Amanda Fritz said. “I thank Mayor Wheeler for his leadership and Commissioners Eudaly and Hardesty for their collaboration. Together, we centered this budget around equity, urgent community needs, and basic services. This pandemic has brought out the best in City employees, and increased our resolve to serve all communities in Portland.”
In the approved budget, the City prioritized core community values:
- Climate action both at the City and with regional partners
- Homelessness work through the Joint Office of Homelessness Services
- Local small businesses, especially those owned by people of color and women
- Safety net services for vulnerable Portlanders
- Community parks, which are some of our most important spaces right now
We also want to thank Commissioner Eudaly for her leadership on funding for the arts.
Next steps to adopt the approved budget are now scheduled to go before City Council for a first reading on June 10, 2020, with the second reading and a final vote on June 17, 2020.