The Metro Council voted 7-0 today to adopt a $385 million budget for the regional agency for its 2011-12 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget is 10 percent smaller than the current year’s budget, and is focused on initiatives aimed at spurring private investments that will create good jobs, make neighborhoods safer and more livable, and protect the region’s farms, forests and natural areas.
“In a time of continuing economic challenges, Metro is focusing its limited resources more strategically to promote jobs and the protection of natural resources in our region,” said Metro Council President Tom Hughes. “This agency is positioned to play a pivotal role in the region’s long-term economic growth and sustainability.”
The balanced budget invests the agency’s resources in five areas to protect the region’s livability:
- Leveraging land use and transportation investments to fight traffic congestion and stimulate community and economic development
- Identifying the most effective investments that will improve the region’s economy, create bikeable, walkable and transit-supported neighborhoods while meeting state carbon pollution reduction targets
- A Community Investment Strategy to strengthen public-private partnerships that will spur redevelopment of dilapidated buildings and brownfields, development of vacant lots, and to create needed water, sewer, parks and other public structures needed to support new and existing urban communities
- A strategy to restore and maintain more than 11,000 acres of natural and recreation areas across the region
- The development of a roadmap for creating innovative new technologies to manage the region’s waste, reduce costs to ratepayers and prevent material from entering the waste stream in the first place
The budget fulfills Metro's commitments to promote and operate the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Convention Center, Portland Expo Center and Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Those facilities generated more than $680 million in regional direct and induced spending last year while supporting 6,600 jobs. It also continues voter-approved purchases of natural areas and improvements to the Oregon Zoo that will improve animal health and safety and conserve water.
The budget features a net reduction of five full-time positions, freezes the pay of senior managers for the second time in three years, increases contributions of non-union-represented employees for health insurance premiums and retirement plans, and requires all new non-union employees, hired on or after July 1, to contribute six percent of their salaries to PERS.