Letter to the Budget Committee & the Citizens of Beaverton
It’s a privilege to submit the city's budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19. 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.” We demonstrate that goal by representing our values to be a welcoming, friendly, active, responsive and safe community.
Welcoming and Friendly
The city proudly embraces the strength of our diverse people. Beaverton is a designated Welcoming City and hosts up to 15 events each September as part of the nationally recognized Welcoming Week, culminating with the City’s International Celebration. The Beaverton Night Market has received national attention under the stewardship of the City’s Diversity Advisory Board. The Beaverton Arts Program and the Beaverton City Library sponsor diverse programming to inspire and connect us culturally. This year the City invested in staff with the employee-led Internal Equity Team organizing equity training for all city employees, ensuring the organization is equipping all employees to embody the values we cherish.
Beaverton continues to be known as an active city, with the expansion of the city’s largest private employer, Nike, bringing more opportunity to the area. This budget continues the city’s support for active transportation with further investment in critical sidewalk connections. The downtown continues to thrive with the Beaverton Downtown Association gaining traction and the city-sponsored Restaurant Week bringing excitement and attention to Beaverton’s diverse eateries. The BG Food Cartel, which benefited from a city grant, opened this past year bringing hundreds of people out daily to enjoy Beaverton downtown. Construction on The Rise Central is underway with 230 new housing units, including affordable units, set to open next year. Fundraising and planning continues for the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Beaverton’s next great space that will serve as a centerpiece for the area. The 4% Lodging Tax, which will help fund the Center, is proving to be the reliable source we projected. There are several new hotels being built or in the design 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.
Being responsive is clearly represented through this budget document and our dedication to fiscal responsibility. The City Council, advisory boards and employees are good stewards of public resources as they craft and implement policies and programs. The City actively directs resources toward community priorities, as identified through the vision plan, ensuring responsiveness. The City also holds itself accountable, reporting to the public annually on its progress toward the vision. The City is demonstrating responsiveness to community issues as this budget reflects a strong investment in community service programs and the dedication of more resources to join community partners in addressing housing affordability challenges.
Providing for a safe community is at the heart of our mission and this budget includes the addition of two police officers and working constructively on issues such as homelessness and specialty municipal court programs for people with alcohol abuse/addiction assistance programs who may otherwise return to dangerous driving habits. This is going to be the ground-breaking year for the new Public Safety Center which was approved with a successful vote for a $35 million General Obligation Bond issue in November 2016.
Beaverton’s revenue trends are generally up over past years. Assessed valuation is rising and Building Fund revenue should top the $4.6 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, are buoyed by substantial private sectors investments driving projections to become one of Oregon’s best performing urban renewal agencies.
Another financial focus is the $21 million Water Revenue bond sold in June. The bonds sold with a premium of more than $3 million resulting in a net bond issuance amount of $18,125,000. 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 begin serving an additional 4,100 customers who are city residents but were served by a special service district. Effective July 1, 2018, those service territories are withdrawn and transfer of service responsibilities will commence.
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 to 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 total property tax levy rate of $4.42 per $1000 assessed valuation reflects a five cent millage rate increase. The increase is dedicated for the hiring of additional police officers, to serve our growing population, bolstering the services of one of Oregon’s busiest libraries and coping with ever present costs related to pensions and health insurance for employees. Even with the first increase in a number of years, the city doesn’t levy its fully authorized, permanent rate of $4.62 per $1000 of assessed valuation.
There is one minor change in the fund structure of the city for the coming year. The GIS fund will terminate and its activities become one of the programs within the Information Systems Fund (#603).