EUGENE, Ore. — After many long nights and weeks of debate, the Eugene Budget Committee finalized it’s recommendation for the city budget Wednesday evening.
The committee has been discussing how and where to find the money to make up for a $5.3 million budget shortfall.
After many public hearings, the committee did not recommend cutting any city services, and instead recommends providing one time funding to continue supporting local parks, pools, law enforcement, and libraries.
Before the recommendation, dozens of community members showed up to voice their opinions on the budget one last time.
Both young and veteran community members showed up at the budget committee hearing the try to save public services, such as Sheldon Pool. “I do know the Sheldon Pool is an asset this community cannot afford to lose,” said Cecilia Zerr, a Eugene resident who swims on Team Eugene Aquatics, a team based out of Sheldon Pool.
One community member said everyone working together is what made this budget process so unique. “By working together the public sector and the nonprofit groups, we’re able to meet more human needs than we would if either of us worked apart from each other,” said Tom Mulhern, Eugene resident.
One group even sang their testimony instead of speaking it.
The majority of people who testified in front of the budget committee consisted of Team Eugene Aquatic members, a team that swims at the Sheldon Pool. The group urged the budget committee to keep the pool open because members say other pools in town are already at capacity and don’t have enough space for swimmers from Sheldon.
After hearing dozens of similar requests from supporters of other city services, the committee made some changes to it’s original budget proposal. Originally the proposal included taking $1.1 million from PERS savings, $1.7 million from the city hall reserve fund, and $2.5 million from the reserve for revenue shortfalls.
Some budget committee members did not support taking any money out of the fund to build a new city hall. “I’m really upset, concerned about the move to take money out of the building facility reserve,” said Betty Taylor, Eugene city councilor.
Many budget committee members agreed the city facility fund should not be tapped into. The committee proposed to take $4.2 million out of the reserve for budget shortfalls and $1.1 million out of the PERS savings.
This proposal would not take any money from the city facility fund and would not cut any city services.
The city council has to approve this budget proposal.