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Friday, December 9, 2011

Parks Releases Ugly, Uglier, and Ugliest Budget Cuts

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 9:59 AM

On Wednesday, I reported on the latest shoe to drop in what's going to be a budget nightmare for Portland next spring—some $17 million in cuts to the city's general fund. Those are the best case cuts so far, just more than 4 percent. In case things get worse, Mayor Sam Adams has also instructed bureaus to prepare for 6 percent and even 8 percent cutbacks.

Yesterday, the Bureau of Parks and Recreation was the first city office to release own doomsday cutback plans, and it's not pretty. Even in the lightest scenario, portable toilets would replace park restrooms (just like at Occupy Portland!), Buckman Pool would close, and so would one community center. Layoffs appear to be in the worst-case plan.

Here's the chart.

Screen_shot_2011-12-08_at_4.46.52_PM.png

A statement from Parks is after the cut. There's going to be a big meeting to talk about what's good and bad—and because Parks is one of those budgets that EVERYBODY cares about, for several varied and equally valid reasons, I suspect it'll be packed.

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Budget Advisory Committee (BAC), comprised of members of the Portland Parks Board, labor representatives and community members, reported their recommendations for 4%, 6% and 8% budget cut packages requested by Mayor Sam Adams. The budget under review is for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, which begins July 1, 2012.

The Budget Advisory Committee undertook the difficult process of understanding and prioritizing potential cut packages. The final report reflects careful consideration of PP&R’s diverse programming, staffing, and services. The BAC recognizes that there are no easy solutions to balancing the budget.

The BAC submitted their recommendations to Parks Director Mike Abbaté and City Parks Commissioner Nick Fish. The Director and Commissioner will now review the recommendations and solicit further input before finalizing budget recommendations to Mayor Adams.

On Wednesday, the Office of Management and Finance reported the city’s latest budget projections which indicate that general fund bureaus may be subject to 4.7% reductions in the next budget year.

“After taking budget cuts the last 4 years, Parks is forced to consider further cuts that will have direct impact on park users. This result of the continuing down economy is especially difficult in light of the fact that our parks and recreation system was recently selected as the best managed in the nation.” says Commissioner Nick Fish. “The director and I will work hard to protect vital services, our employees and the long-term viability of the system.”

The BAC guidance to the commissioner and director is the result of many weeks of preparation and deliberation by committed staff and volunteers. This is the first critical step in the annual budget proposal process. Opportunities for public input will be provided both at a meeting detailed below, and at PP&R’s website.

WHAT: Public PP&R 2012-2013 Budget Meeting

WHEN: Monday, January 9th, 2012 6:30pm-8:30pm

WHERE: Multnomah County Boardroom @ 501 SE Hawthorne (at the corner of SE 6th Ave.)

Following the public meeting, the Director and Commissioner will craft their final recommended budget to submit to the Mayor after
January 13, 2012.

The final PP&R budget will be determined in May 2012.

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