Mayor Sam Adams has been meeting this afternoon with the heads of all city bureaus, and the bosses of unions, too—inside the cave at the Portland Building. It's a very grim budget picture, and he's been preparing everyone for job cuts.
"Since World War Two, this has been the toughest recession on Portlanders," he said. "Thirteen straight months of double digit unemployment." "The items at the bottom of your list that are furthest away from your mission are the ones that should be considered for cuts."
Last year, $17million in one-time funding filled gaps in the city's budget. But not this coming year.
"It doesn't look there's going to be that level of one-time funding," said Adams. "So if there are programs on that list that a member of city council wants to continue to fund, you need to begin to prioritize your thinking around one-time requests, or find a way to fund that with your reduced, existing revenues."
"I want to continue to emphasize the preservation of front-line services," said Adams. "The possibility of job cuts is really disruptive, but it's really important to me that we redouble our public service ethos, and our mission on folks that are struggling in the community and for businesses that are struggling as well."
Mayor Adams said he didn't want to tap the city's reserve fund, because he wants to keep the city's AAA bond rating—an indicator of how it can pay back its debt.
Adams said furloughs, four day weeks, and pay freezes are another possibility, too. "Believe it or not, we're more fortunate than a lot of other locales," he said.
"Mayor, perhaps you can explain that the police bureau is not going to be $5million over," said Police Chief Rosie Sizer.
"Right now we're looking at approximately a $1.3million overspend, and the bureau is taking steps to reduce that to nothing," said Andrew Scott with the Office Of Management and Finance.