Good Afternoon Parks Supporters –
Thank you for your interest in Portland Parks & Recreation and our FY 20015/16 Budget Process. More than 1,000 Portlanders shared their ideas and priorities with us. The information from the community was used to help identify what needed to be included in our FY 2015/16 Budget Request. Because of strong public support – two new items were identified for inclusion– funding for a city-wide mountain bike master plan and funding for innovative community garden work. I am including the results of the public meeting in this message. Below is a message from Director Abbaté.
Thank you again for your time and commitment to Portland Parks & Recreation
From Director Abbaté:
I am pleased to report that PP&R, in collaboration with Commissioner Amanda Fritz and the Bureau’s Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) has submitted the Bureau’s Requested Budget to Mayor Hales. The BAC consists of diverse representation from across the city’s neighborhoods, culturally-specific communities, and our Parks Board and labor representatives.
Mayor Hales asked for “stabilization” budgets from the General Fund Bureaus and that any ongoing “add packages” identify equal cuts in budgeted programs or service elsewhere. Because of this requirement, we limited the number and size of additional ongoing requests.
Some budget highlights include (but are not limited to):
· Our Workforce: In this budget, you will find several investments in our workforce:
o Conversions: Ongoing budget requests to create permanent jobs for a limited number of seasonal park rangers and maintenance workers, in cases where there is year-round work
o Operations & Maintenance (O&M): Due to nearly a million dollars in new Operations and Maintenance funding the Bureau has received over the last two budget cycles from new or upcoming acquisitions and park developments, the bureau is adding 11 new O&M-related positions to care for these new facilities.
o Commissioner Fritz and I, the Senior Management Team and the BAC understand that we still have more progress to make on rebuilding front line staff from positions eliminated from 2008 through 2014.
· Realignment: To restore ongoing General Fund support for Buckman Pool, Sellwood CC and two Central Services positions and to follow the Mayor’s instructions that we have to offer an accompanying cut, we offered that the most recent new responsibility given to parks as a potential offsetting cut: maintenance of fountains. However, you will notice that we also requested one-time funds to cover both fountain maintenance and the additional funds needed to actually maintain them at previous service levels. Three positions could potentially be impacted by the results of the Council’s review of fountain maintenance.
· Major Maintenance: Many of the one-time budget requests are for major maintenance; these requested investments align with Council’s long-term priority of infrastructure investment and cost-effective asset management. As you know, while we are celebrating a $68 million dollar Replacement Bond win, still, more than $200 million in major maintenance needs remain unfunded. You’ll find requested investments in Charles Jordan Community Center’s roof, Mount Scott Community Center’s HVAC system, Forest Park, Sckavone Stadium and more.
· Equity: Several one-time budget requests would support or grow programming that is focused on Portland’s most underserved communities—Scholarships, Summer Free for All, Parks for New Portlanders, implementation of the Strategic Plan’s Inclusive Customer Service, improved Limited English Proficiency, Bureau-wide equity and safety training program, Innovative Food Production Action Plan and more.
Titles and amounts of individual budget requests are below. For the entire budget proposal, click here https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/40431.
As outlined in the BAC budget letter (Page 5 in the Requested Budget), we all believe that the Bureau still has significantly greater needs for restoration of ongoing funding. But given the Mayor’s budget direction for ongoing requests to have accompanying cuts in some other service area, the Requested Budget speaks to the following as ongoing priorities but does not offer them as ongoing packages: youth investment, major maintenance, parks and natural area maintenance and expanded park ranger services.
Thank you to all who have participated in the budget process in some way over the last several months—and we look forward to seeing you at the Council’s budget hearings. See the City Budget Office’s site for more information: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/515785
Thank you for giving so much of your time and talent to our parks system. I hope to see you soon.
Have a great week –
MIKE ABBATÉ, FASLA