City of Eugene's money problems topic of public workshops

City of Eugene's money problems topic of public workshops
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EUGENE, Ore. - The City of Eugene doesn't anticipate taking in as many dollars in revenue as it would take to maintain City services.

Again.

Facing a multi-million dollar gap between revenue and expenses, the City has organized 5 workshops to invite input from the public.

The first is Tuesday in South Eugene, with 4 more around Eugene between now and the end of the month.

At the workshops citizen volunteer members of the Budget Committee and City Councilors from each area will meet with community members to discuss the situation and seek input on solutions, the City said.

"The Budget Committee faces some very tough decisions about how to fund services and we are seeking the community's help," said Laura Illig, who chairs the City of Eugene's Budget Committee. "We hope people will join us to meet and engage with their neighbors and help find ways to address this situation that threatens City services."

For the last 5 years, the City of Eugene has faced deficits in its General Fund that pays for police, fire, parks, library and other basic City services. City officials blame the recession and property tax revenues.

Over 4 years, the City said it decreased government expenses by $24 million and eliminated 100 positions.

Last year, the City faced a $5.2 million gap in the General Fund between the money coming in and what it would take to fund city operations.

Voters defeated a proposed City service fee by more than 2-1 in the May 2013 election.

The Budget Committee and City Council decided to use reserve funds - essentially the City's savings account, city officials said - to close the budget gap for this year.

Now Eugene officials want a more in-depth review of the budget and a discussion with the community about the City budget.

The 5 forums planned this month are set at the local high schools around Eugene:

  • Tuesday, October 15, at  South Eugene High School
  • Wednesday, October 23, at Sheldon High School
  • Thursday, October 24, at  North Eugene High School
  • Tuesday, October 29, at  Willamette High School
  • Wednesday, October 30, at Churchill High School

All workshops are from 6-8 p.m. in the school cafeterias.