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City Manager’s Budget Suggests Cuts, No Revenue Sources

City Manager Jon Ruiz’s recommended city budget for Eugene’s coming fiscal year closes a $2.5 million gap with one-time funding from the city’s reserve fund and reductions to parks maintenance, downtown library hours and recreation services. It also calls for a one-time contribution of $200,000 to the nonprofit group TrackTown USA.

The Budget Committee, which comprises eight citizen members and all of the city councilors, passed a motion to recommend Ruiz’s proposal to the City Council. The council will decide May 27 following a public hearing if the budget will be put into place.

“It seems to me that we have not asked much of ourselves in the creativity department,” Budget Committee member Jill Fetherstonhaugh says. 

She says the list of budget remedies reviewed by the committee, which consists of only reductions and one-time funding from the city’s revenue reserve, is boring and uninspired. The city’s Revenue Team, a group made up of 13 citizens and two city councilors, evaluated different possible revenue sources.

“As a member of the Revenue Team, we reviewed ideas,” Fetherstonhaugh says, “but we [the Budget Committee] haven’t discussed any of those.”

Ruiz’s recommendations include use of one-time funding for a $200,000 contribution to TrackTown, a nonprofit that organizes Hayward Field track events. The contribution is the only budget item that was not included in City Council’s budget suggestions.

“As we move toward the 2016 Olympic trials, we want to play a part of that,” Ruiz says. He says the donation is a move toward economic prosperity because the city will benefit economically from the tourism.

One-time funds will also be used for $250,000 in Human Services discretionary funding and $306,000 to keep the Sheldon Branch Library open through fiscal year 2015. Human Services discretionary funding of $175,000 that was funded with one-time money last year has been cut from this year’s proposed budget.

Catholic Community Services Executive Director Tom Mulhern spoke against one-time money to fund Human Services during the April 1 public hearing. He says when money is labeled as one-time funding “you create the environment for cutting it next year or the year after or some point down the line, and that’s what we would like to avoid and forestall. That’s what happened to the $175,000 that’s being cut this year.”

The public hearing on the budget will begin at 7:30 pm Tuesday, May 27, in Harris Hall at 125 E. 8th Ave.