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Think You Can Balance Bend's General Fund Budget?

oldMIllThe City provides a variety of different services and programs to its residents that are supported with taxes, fees, charges, grants and other miscellaneous revenues. The City’s General Fund is the main operating fund of the City. Property taxes, motel/hotel taxes and franchise fees are the main revenues of the General fund. For Fiscal Year 2013-14, the City’s General Fund revenues are expected to total about $36 million and the City Council has the most discretion for how those revenues are spent on programs and services.

There are several “structural problems” that put a strain on the General Fund. These include:

  • Bend has one of the lowest permanent property tax rates when compared to other cities of similar size: $2.80 per $1000 of tax assessed value. This is a result of State Measure 50, passed in the 1990's, that limits property tax revenues that cities can raise by establishing permanent tax rates and limiting growth in tax assessed values to three percent a year. Bend, as a city of 25,000, had a low property tax rate at that time which now limits the services that can be provided to a City of 78,000.
  • The recession significantly lowered property values and limited the growth in property tax revenues such that property taxes are not keeping up with the costs of needed services.
  • Rising costs of providing services, including personnel costs, fuel and other operating costs, our outpacing revenue growth.

towerThe Budget process at the City of Bend starts nine months before the Council’s June adoption of the final budget. The City Manager, as the Budget Officer for the City, presents a proposed budget to the City’s Budget Committee. The Budget Committee, comprised of the City Council and seven citizen members, adopts a final budget that gets forwarded to the Council for approval. The City operates in fiscal years and the biennial budget includes two fiscal years. Each fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30.

Use the Budget Balancer as an educational tool only. Some of the numbers associated with various options are only estimates at this time and may change throughout the budget process. Some options are presented as examples only and will require future negotiations with the City’s employee unions to implement.

We've provided a wide range of options in the Budget Balancer — spending cuts and revenue enhancements — that cover most areas of the General Fund. It's not easy, but it can be done.

The table below shows the City’s preliminary allocations in the General Fund for Fiscal Year 2013-14. How would you allocate the $36 million in the General Fund?

Program/Department
of FY 13/14
Proposed Expenditures Percentage of
General Fund
Police Department $ 19,265,000 53%
Allocation to Fire Dept. $ 10,233,000 28%
Allocation to Street Maintenance $ 2,300,000 6%
Transit Contract with COIC $ 1,065,000 3%
Allocation to Community Development and Planning $ 1,086,000 3%
Debt on Land $ 390,000 1%
Bend Municipal Court $ 583,000 2%
Accessibility Improvements $ 450,000 1%
Business Advocacy Program (Economic Development) $ 340,000 1%
Accessibility Program $ 230,000 1%
Allocation to “Rainy Day" Fund $ 100,000 0%
Total  $ 36,042,000

To view the entire City of Bend 2013-14 Proposed Biennial Budget or for more information on how to get involved in the budget process, visit the City's website.

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