Portland approves $3.6B budget

A sign of a booming economy: City officials passed budget “with a minimum of bickering.”

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A sign of a booming economy: City of Portland officials passed the 2015-16 budget “with a minimum of bickering,” the Portland Tribune writes.

Mayor Charlie Hales dubbed it his “fix the roof” budget, because much of the new cash went into fixing roads, parks and other deferred maintenance, rather than splashy new programs. City commissioners still hold out hopes they can win public support for a new fee or tax to pay for road safety and maintenance later this so year. So they quickly — some would say prudently — agreed to spend the largest share of the new money on roads, including major improvements to !22nd Avenue in East Portland. There’s a heavy concentration of apartments along 122nd, and the improvements are expected to pave the way for Trimet to start frequent bus service there.

“We are continuing to invest in parts of the city that have been lacking in services,” said City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. She was alluding to residential developments approved in East Portland, before it was within city limits, without requiring basic roads, sidewalks, sewers and parks. “We’re not done yet,” Fritz quickly added.

Gas and garbage rates will not increase for residents, but they can expect a slight uptick in water and sewer rates.

OregonLive.com reports on the latter:

The typical customer should expect a $4.42 monthly increase in combined water, sewer and stormwater charges, or an increase of 4.7 percent from today’s $94.79 monthly bill. The increases, unanimously approved by the Portland City Council on Wednesday,  go into effect July 1. This marks the third consecutive fiscal year that combined rate increases remained below 5 percent.

“That’s a significant milestone,” said Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversees the Portland Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services.

The trash and recycling rate has not increased in three years as residents recycle more frequently.