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Finances and funding

About Metro    Finances and funding

Find out how Metro is funded and how money is spent.

Download Metro budgets and financial reports

Find Metro budget documents
Find Metro financial reports

In addition to meeting basic operational needs, Metro's adopted budget reflects the goals and objectives of the Metro Council, and indicates our commitment to financial and operational excellence. Rated a “Double Triple” by bond rating agencies since March 2007, Metro continues to look for opportunities to strengthen our finances and set a standard of fiscal prudence, integrity and transparency.

The budget process

Metro’s budget process is a strategy-focused discussion of Council goals, programs and outcomes, and spending priorities within resource constraints.

The budget includes all major operating functions of Metro: Metro Exposition Recreation Commission, Oregon Zoo, Planning, Research Center, Parks and Environmental Services and Sustainability Center. Also included are elected and administrative functions of Office of the Council, Office of the Auditor, Office of Metro Attorney, Finance and Regulatory Services, Human Resources and Communications.

Financial reporting

In addition to Metro's annual budget, Finance and Regulatory Services prepares quarterly reports and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

Where does the money come from?

Resources to meet Metro's obligations and needs are derived from beginning fund balance and revenues.

The beginning fund balance is monies carried forward from previous fiscal years and include proceeds from voter-approved bonds, reserves for specific purposes and monies used to meet cash flow needs. The beginning balance for FY 2011-12 is $165 million.

Current revenues account for 57 percent of Metro's total resources. Enterprise activities provide the largest amount of fee-generated revenues, constituting 49 percent of current revenues. Metro's largest enterprise activity is solid waste disposal, generating $55 million, which comes from fees charged on solid waste deposited at Metro's transfer stations.

Metro will receive an estimated $39 million in property tax revenues in FY 2011-12. This includes current year tax receipts for operations ($11 million) and debt service levies ($26.5 million) for outstanding general obligation bond issues for the Open Spaces Acquisition Program, the original Oregon Convention Center construction, the Zoo's Great Northwest Project, Natural Areas Acquisition Program and the Oregon Zoo Infrastructure and Animal Welfare project.

Learn more about Metro and property taxes

Metro’s discretionary general revenues include a small permanent property tax base ($11 million), excise tax ($15 million) and general, non-dedicated interest earnings (.1 million).  Excise tax is paid by users of Metro facilities and services in accordance with the Metro Charter and Metro Code.  Metro’s charter also provides an expenditure limitation.  Metro’s discretionary revenues support the costs of general government activities (Council office, elections costs, public information and advocacy) as well as core services such as land use planning and the operations of the zoo and parks.

Other sources of revenue include  local, state and federal grants ($12.6 million), restricted donations $1.6 million) and an additional $0.7 million in restricted interest earnings.

Where does the money go?

Metro uses its resources for a variety of programs and functions prescribed by state law and Metro Charter and those related to its primary goals. Metro directs money to projects that go toward creating livable communities. Purposes include programs related to transportation planning, growth management, access to nature, clean air and water, waste reduction and education programs.

Metro expects to spend about $199 million in support of the operations of Metro facilities such as the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Convention Center, the Expo Center, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Regional Parks and Greenspaces, and solid waste disposal facilities. Large expenditures in this area include solid waste transfer station operations and the transfer of solid waste to the Columbia Ridge Landfill in Gilliam County (about $27.2 million).

Approximately $39 million is provided for capital expenditures. The largest uses of capital funds are $21 million for land acquisition and capital expenditures related to the Natural Areas program, $4 million for solid waste facility capital projects, $6 million for capital improvements at the Oregon Zoo, and $3 million for capital improvements at MERC facilities.

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By the Numbers

of Metro's operating budget comes from property tax revenues. The majority of revenues are derived from enterprise functions such as Oregon Zoo admissions, solid waste revenues, and park fees.

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