Bend’s finances rebounds after pandemic cuts

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Outside Bend City Hall.

Outdoors Bend Metropolis Corridor.

Ericka Cruz Guevarra / OPB

The Metropolis of Bend is rising from pandemic cutbacks on strong monetary footing, padded by elevated property values, the revival of tourism and tens of millions in federal help, in keeping with metropolis leaders.

On Wednesday, the Metropolis Council adopted a finances that ends a year-long hiring freeze on greater than 30 vacant positions, and funds development in most departments. The finances forecasts income from tax assessed properties will go up round 5% by 2023.

“Property taxes primarily fund police, hearth, and road upkeep companies,” Metropolis Supervisor Eric King wrote in a memo.

He expects occupancy taxes on lodge rooms and trip leases to surge by double digits this yr. In 2022, a voter-approved property tax improve additionally rolls out, backing $24 million in long run debt for transportation tasks.

For town’s clients, charges will go up. A 5% improve for system growth expenses greater than doubles the rise accredited by the Metropolis Council final yr.

Systemic growth expenses, or SDCs, assist fund roads, waterlines and sewers. With development prices surging, it’s costlier to construct public infrastructure to go well with inhabitants development, mentioned Bend’s Chief Monetary Officer Sharon Wojda.

“As extra folks relocate to Bend, we’ve increased calls for on the system,” Wodja mentioned. “These SDC revenues are our funding supply to pay for the infrastructure that we’re placing within the system.”

The town can waive SDC expenses for sure reasonably priced housing tasks with deed restrictions.

The town tasks $395 million in working income, and fewer than a 3rd — some $124 million — is in a discretionary normal fund. Most of this pays for public security, in keeping with King’s finances message to councilors.

The Bend Police Division’s $27.4 million working finances represents a 12% improve over final yr, together with six new full time positions.

The town’s Non-public Improvement Engineering Division will see important funding, together with two full time positions.

The finances creates a fund for variety, fairness, inclusion and accessibility, one other for sustainability, and a brand new fund devoted to amassing the industrial and industrial development tax.

Final yr, Bend voters elected a slate of 4 metropolis councilors who campaigned on progressive platforms, and now maintain a majority in making selections about metropolis financing.

The $919 million finances units apart round $3 million to assist this council’s particular objectives, akin to: “housing provide, transportation enhancements, efficient Metropolis authorities … fairness, justice, environmental stewardship and addressing homelessness,” in keeping with town’s web site.

“We all know we’ve a number of work to do, and we’re asking the group to carry us accountable to those objectives,” Mayor Professional Tem Gena Goodman-Campbell wrote of the goal-setting course of.

The council has but to determine find out how to spend $14 million in federal funding allotted to Bend by way of the American Rescue Plan, which was not included within the metropolis finances adopted this week.

The council is predicted to start workshopping a supplemental finances for these funds subsequent month.

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