EUGENE, Ore. — The city of Eugene’s budget meeting set for Tuesday is cancelled, but the discussion about Monday night’s decision continues.
Committee members are pushing to buy some time with a proposal to use some one-time funds. That has residents questioning their city administrators.
While most of the citizens KEZI 9 News spoke to–especially those whose services were being threatened–are happy with the change of heart, it has many wondering how much they can really trust our city leaders.
It appears that supporters of the city’s police, fire, pools, libraries, recreation and parks and many other municipal and social services can breath easy at least for now. While glad that their programs haven’t seen their last days, citizen doubt and distrust in the government seems to have grown.
“It seems like the city has been squirrel holing funds and asking for additional increases in fees all the time from businesses and citizens,” said Eugene resident Ryan Hewitt.
“Think it’s wonderful that they’ve come up with the funds, but I wonder how often they can come up with the funds for more services or existing services that we have,” said Eugene resident Kashana Dyck.
Some councilors say the fee wasn’t meant to be a threat and really nothing, including the proposed cuts, was set in stone even now.
“It was never like a congressional shutdown that we would hit a wall and everything would be cut. There was always going to be a process with the budget committee. Even if the fee had passed, things could have turned out differently,” said Clair Syrett, Eugene City Councilor.
But other councilors weren’t surprised by the backlash.
“I was against the idea of this fee from the very beginning because I thought it would set up a bad conversation in the community–and it has,” said Mike Clark, Eugene City Councilor.
But whatever side anyone is on, they all hope that the time bought with these reserves will be used wisely.
“Moving forward, I hope the rest of my colleagues will learn from this and that we look for a different way to create a more sustainable city financial picture,” Clark said.
Councilor Clark said he hopes that the city will use the time to really look into ways of gaining revenue, for example, by increasing the tax base through the acquisition of more property to get more people to “push the cart rather than asking the few to push it harder.”