The annual budget, prepared by its Finance and Regulatory Services, includes Metro’s major operating functions:
- Metro Exposition Recreation Commission
- Oregon Zoo
- Research Center
- Parks and Environmental Services
- Sustainability Center
- Elected and administrative functions: Office of the Council, Office of the Auditor, Office of Metro Attorney, Finance and Regulatory Services, Human Resources and Communications
Where the money comes from
- Enterprise activities are Metro’s largest revenue source: $114.4 million, or 51 percent of total revenues. They derive from fees from solid waste disposal at Metro’s two transfer stations and revenues at four visitor venues—Oregon Convention Center, Oregon Zoo, Portland Center for the Performing Arts and Portland Expo Center.
- Property taxes are Metro’s second largest source of revenue: $58.6 million, 26 percent of total revenues. Much of this revenue goes to dedicated projects approved by voters, such as improvements to the Oregon Zoo and acquisition of natural areas.
- Beginning fund balances: monies carried forward from previous fiscal years from sources such as voter-approved bonds, reserves for specific purposes and monies allocated for cash flow needs such as debt service.
- Discretionary general revenues: a small permanent property tax base ($11.8 million), excise tax paid by users of Metro facilities ($15.3 million) and general, non-dedicated interest earnings ($0.06 million). These revenues support general government activities (Council office, elections costs, public information and advocacy) and core services such as land use planning and operations of the zoo and parks.
- Other revenue sources: local, state and federal grants ($10.4 million), contributions and restricted donations ($7.6 million), local government shared revenues ($14.3 million) and restricted interest earnings ($0.76 million).
What the money is used for
In fiscal year 2013–14, major expenditures included:
- $190 million in support of operations of the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Convention Center, the Portland Expo Center, Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, and solid waste disposal facilities, parks and natural areas. Large expenditures include solid waste transfer station operations and transfer of solid waste to the Columbia Ridge Landfill in Gilliam County (about $29 million).
- Approximately $71.7 million for capital expenditures: $21 million for land acquisition and capital expenditures related to the Natural Areas program, $3.7 million for solid waste facility capital projects, $25 million for capital improvements at the Oregon Zoo, and $4.8 million for capital improvements at MERC facilities.
In 2013, Metro received the highest bond rating, AAA, from Standard and Poor’s, the nation’s largest credit-rating agency for its Full Faith & Credit obligations. The agency pointed to Metro’s diverse tax base, operational performance, financial policies and reserves and low debt burden. It deemed Metro’s management practices strong, well embedded and sustainable. This augments the Aaa/AAA general obligation bond ratings received from Moody’s Investor Services and Standard and Poor’s in prior years and reaffirmed by both rating agencies in 2012.