EUGENE, Ore. — The city of Eugene continues to face huge deficits in its general fund, and now it’s turning to residents for help prioritizing its services.
Dozens of resident attended the budget workshop Tuesday night at the South Eugene High School.
The residents were broken into separate groups and given a chart of different city departments. The residents were then asked where they would allocate and move funds if they were confronted with the task of balancing the budget.
The city blames the recession and low property tax revenues for its deficits in its general fund, the fund that pays for police, fire, parks and the library. City leaders say over the last four years it’s decreased its expenses by $24 million, but with that came the elimination of 100 positions.
Last year a proposed city service fee failed. After hearing from the community, the budget committee decided to use reserve funds to fill the gap for a year. The committee wants to hear from the community about what to do for the Fiscal Year 2015. That’s exactly what city leaders heard.
“To support the Parks and Recreation part of the budget, I think it is really important to not cut that and keep it going. It’s what makes Eugene a strong community.” said Eugene resident Erin Cling.
“I feel frustrated with the kick-the-can-down-the-road approach that we need to balance the budget now,” said Eugene resident Seda Collier.
“Even though I am the Vice President of the board of Team Eugene, I can’t get my son on the team because there isn’t enough pool space yet. We are still thinking of closing a pool,” added Eugene resident Jeffery Winter.
The city says last year’s budget gap was about $5.3 million. The city says the 2015 budget will likely be in line with that.