Councilors are still going back and forth about how to avert pending cuts to city services. There was a popular recommendation made, but it only provides a temporary fix but could save services citizens rely on.
“I think that we’re at a place where the city is living beyond its means, but folks really want us to keep the services in place, and those are two competing things that we are going to have to find a way through,” said Claire Syrett, Eugene City Councilor.
That’s the dilemma the budget committee is facing. It has already held multiple meetings to find a way to fill the $6.3 million budget gap. Some residents are urging them to use one-time funds.
“It would be using reserves, which many of us on council don’t think is a sustainable solution. It’s not a sustainable solution, but it would give us time to preserve current funding and hopefully find more long-term solutions,” Syrett said.
While stopgap spending looks like one answer, some wonder if it’s a real solution.
“I’m not usually one for a bandaid solution, but in this case I think that they are having to reassess the situation after the fee didn’t pass,” said Sheldon Pool advocate Tara Sloan.
But some see this temporary solution as a major problem, asking what happens six months or even a year. Then there there’s the question of where will that one-time money come from, as well as if all the programs can really be saved.
Despite the uncertainty, citizens told KEZI 9 News they’ll keep fighting for their services in hopes they won’t disappear. But they also understand that the lack of money, solutions and time, doesn’t make the decision-making process any easier.
Sloan says down the line she would be concerned that the city doesn’t come up with a solution.
“I don’t even what they have to do, and I hope that they can come up with a solution that won’t devastate these programs,” Sloan said.
Another idea that was put on the table was using money from PERS reform savings, along with asking city departments to cut 2 percent from their budget. Both of these options would provide ongoing funding.