Letter to the Budget Committee & Residents of Beaverton
As the Mayor and Budget Officer, it’s a privilege to submit the city’s budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21. This budget represents the priorities of the Mayor, City Council and the Beaverton Community Vision. Our work continues as we build on the plans developed over the past decade to achieve the aim of being the "Best of Oregon."
I’m excited as we move into the next years with several of our important dreams being achieved. Construction is underway at the new Public Safety Center and we expect to· reach the fund-raising goals for the Patricia Reser Arts Center. That will lead to construction of both it and the Central Beaverton parking garage to serve the arts center and surrounding area. The other significant event is the commitment Beaverton has made to a water resource in the Willamette River that will serve future generations. Joining with regional partners to form the Willamette Water Supply Commission represents a solid investment but requires a significant investment of approximately $61 million. Coupled with other investments in the water system in new reservoirs and mains, I’d say that Beaverton’s water future is very secure.
I want to recognize the vital role played by the City Council and the staff of the city in pursuit of these dreams. The City Council has consistently reviewed and developed priorities for budget and our overall legislative agenda that is forward thinking while it embraces legacy goals of the city, the Community Vision targets and the planning efforts of the last decade where those objectives became clear and attainable. The same objectives drive their interaction with boards and commissions as well as their engagement with residents in more informal settings such as the Night Market and "picnics in the park".
It is the city’s talented staff that do so much, every day of the year, to make Beaverton successful. The employees are professional and engaged in their work. Citizens recognize their efforts with written and verbal feedback as well as service satisfaction surveys.
- In November-December 2017, the Library conducted a user satisfaction survey and received more than 3,200 replies. 95% of respondents said they were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with library services (2.4% had no opinion.)
- Approximately 88 percent of respondents in a recent online Police Department (BPD) community survey indicated they were "very/somewhat satisfied" with the. manner they were treated involving contact with an on-duty BPD member within the past two years.
- From a recent citizen survey we note that 88.5% rate the overall quality oflife in Beaverton as excellent or good and 91.3 % are likely to recommend their neighborhood to someone looking to move here.
Two new department heads joined the City this past year and we appointed a new director of Mayor’s Office Programs. The work of Glen Ferdman, Library Director, and Patricia Anderson-Wieck, Human Resources Director, has been fabulous. I also appreciate the work of Abigail Elder who moved from the Library to the Mayor’s Office to direct that staff and assist me as Mayor Pro Tern. They’ve formed a terrific management team with more-veteran department heads as well as managers across the organization. Their good work is quite obvious in producing this disciplined and goal-oriented budget. Led by Public Works Director David Donaldson, that department is now one of only 15 0 similar organizations across the country who are accredited by the American Public Works Association. They join the ranks of the Police Department that has been accredited by Oregon Accreditation Alliance (OAA) since 2005.
It is the work of all Beaverton employees and volunteers that push our achievements. Sometimes it is an interdepartmental team that creates solutions such as the Homelessness Task Force recommending an emergency weather shelter, a practical program for addressing street camping and providing more resources for the Police Bike Patrol staff as they provide direct services to people coping with shelter, inclement weather and a myriad of health and social issues. Other successful teams have developed around issues of internal equity and diversity, growth, downtown design or the transfer of more than 4100 water services from an adjoining water utility. It is also the specialty municipal court programs for people with alcohol abuse/addiction assistance programs who may otherwise return to dangerous driving habits. There may also be service on a regional committee such as joining with community partners in addressing housing affordability challenges. Most often it is the thousands of quick responses by an individual employee or work unit to an application for service, a request for documents, an eviction, a water main leak or a fair adjudication of a citation for speeding through a red light at an intersection. We do all this by demonstrating our values to be a welcoming, friendly, active, responsive and safe community.
Beaverton’s revenue trends are generally up over past years. Assessed valuation is rising and Building Fund revenue should top the $4.8 million mark, another record year. This year, Beaverton will see hundreds of new homes built in South Cooper Mountain. Other revenue increases should come from lodging taxes, right-of-way fees, water revenue, interest earnings and development-related fees. We will continue to invest in staff expertise to service the development community, acquire key properties for redevelopment and create the types of infrastructure necessary to assure that private sector development occurs. The city’s urban renewal efforts, through the Beaverton Urban Redevelopment Agency (BURA), are buoyed by substantial private sectors investments driving projections to become one of Oregon’s best performing urban renewal agencies.
The City’s property taxes are expected to grow approximately 2.77% due to increases in assessed value (AV) of property while maintaining a tax rate of $4.22 per $1000 AV for operating purposes. The AV within the urban renewal district is growing at a faster rate (17.9%). Revenue from utility and telecom users of the streets and other rights-of-way (ROW) continue to expand and is an important resource for the city and especially the Street Fund’s street lighting program. AV and property tax growth across the county are driving increases in the funds provided to Beaverton from Washington County as a member of the Washington County Cooperative Library System (WCCLS). Gas tax and vehicle registration fees are growing slightly but are not sufficient to meet all of the city’s transportation system long-term plans and needs.
Another financial focus is the $21 million Water Revenue bond sold in June 2018. This bond continues Beaverton’s investment in its water system’s transmission, storage and distribution assets. Coupled with the new infrastructure for a growing community is the opportunity to serving an additional 4,300 customers who are city residents but were served by a separate water district operating within the city limits. Effective July 1, 2018, those service territories were withdrawn from the Tualatin Valley Water District and transfer of service responsibilities commenced. Their consumption is driving a significant jump in water sales. A follow-on Water Revenue Bond is proposed for June 2020. This $30 million bond will pay for the initial obligations for joining the Willamette Water Supply System as well as additional, traditional assets for the city’s system generated from a new Water System Master Plan. The additional bond will require a higher water rate increase than initially planned for FY 19-20.
Fundraising and design continues for the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts (PRCA), Beaverton’s next great space that will serve as a centerpiece for the region. The 6.5% Lodging Tax, which will help fund and operate the Center, is proving to be the reliable source we projected. There are three new hotels being built and two more are in the pre-development application stage. Hotel development investments reflect the demand for business travel to serve a vibrant economy as well as the many recreational opportunities in the Tualatin River basin and all around Oregon. Two related bond measures are planned once the fundraising goals are met - a $21 million lodging tax based special revenue bond for the PRCA and a special revenue bond backed by the urban renewal tax increment.
The Finance staff is developing a methodology to expand the fragmented approach of long-term revenue and expenditure forecasts to a more comprehensive model. The initial model will focus on the General Fund.
Some things do not change and the budget reflects our continuing enhanced law enforcement and community safety activities, maintaining the city’s stable financial position, and expanding the public’s involvement in city government. The budget also enhances city sustainability efforts and expands business assistance, retention and attraction through excellent customer service to Beaverton residents. This is a goal-oriented, fiscally conservative budget pursuing an ambitious set of goals with all of our fiscal, physical and people resources. The operational property tax levy is steady at a rate of $4.22 per $1000 AV. The city doesn’t levy its fully authorized, permanent rate of $4.62 per $1000 of assessed valuation. In addition, a levy of $0.20 supports the General Obligation bonds which financed the new Public Safety Center.
There are several changes in the fund structure of the city for the coming year. The Arts Center Gift and Donations fund will terminate as the Beaverton Arts and Culture Foundation has achieved the desired operational standard so there is no need for the city to directly handle any pledges for the facility. The Street Lighting Fund is terminated and its activities become one of the programs within the Street Fund (#101). Previously the Street Lighting Fund was allocated a portion of the property tax levy ($1.2 million in FY 1819). Going forward the General Fund will retain those taxes and instead, transfer an equivalent amount of ROW fees for street lighting purposes to the Street Fund.