Friday, February 20, 2009

Memo from County Chair

Ouch. County Commissioner Cogen posted this on his website:

Chair Wheeler's budget memo to county employees:

The weakening of the economy continues to bring disheartening news for Multnomah County. Today’s state revenue forecast predicts further erosion of the state economy which will result in a significant decline in state funding to Multnomah County. The state reports a $855.3 million budget shortfall for the current year and a $3 billion deficit for the 09-11 biennium. Multnomah County faces a $36.5 million General Fund shortfall in FY 2010, which grows to $45.9 million in FY 2011. These numbers are unprecedented, continue to change, and will result in deep reductions to county services.

The federal economic stimulus plan may present some relief, but the details of how and if federal dollars will affect local government are yet to be determined.

Since I took office, I have worked toward preparing us for the lean times by paying down debt and taking a conservative approach to budgeting. I have asked department directors, the District Attorney and Sheriff to bring forward plans for reductions, including options for savings of four percent from the current budget year. For fiscal year 2010, I have asked for general fund budget reductions of 12 percent across the board.

Painful cuts are necessary, and we will do everything we can to minimize the impact on the vulnerable people who depend on us. The county is the safety net for many members of our community. The numbers of people seeking our assistance continues to grow, as home foreclosures, unemployment and the cost of basic needs, such as food, housing, fuel and utilities increase.

What is clear is that future demands for our services will be greater than the resources we have available. We will focus on investing in programs that can demonstrate successful outcomes and have proven track records. Some layoffs are necessary and could be reduced if we can find creative ways to save money. I am proud of the relationships we have built with union leadership that have enabled us to look at ways to save as many jobs as possible while reducing the budget. I am hopeful that these productive conversations will continue.

The Board of County Commissioners will ultimately make decisions in June about which services will be continued and which services will be cut in fiscal year 2010.

The timeline for budget deliberations is as follows:
February 13 Program offers submitted
March 2 and 16 Budget community forums
April 23 Chair releases Executive Budget
May Public budget hearings
June 4 Board adopts FY 2010 Budget

I understand that Multnomah County employees, like people everywhere, are anxious about their economic and job security and I know that we have tough times ahead. If we can support each other, I know we can weather the rough spots and find the best ways to keep moving forward. These are challenging times, but I firmly believe that we are up to the challenge.

Really painful to read but I appreciate knowing this. Damn-12%?...blehhhhh....

And here is the rest of it.

1 comment:

Nina said...

so sad and so unnecessary. lack of money and credit are what's behind this and every other economic struggle. i'm imagining a society w/o money, w/o the need for it given no matter how little or much we have, money is the center of our lives. the need for it creates unnecessary stress not to mention the time and energy we spend trying to budget, make more, hold onto it, etc. it creates lack and sets up the environment for competition.

it would be beautiful if instead, human worth and value were at the center--not just in our words but in our actions too--all across the system.