A budget oversight committee signed off on Metro's proposed 2014-15 budget on Thursday, but not before asking questions about the regional government's operations.
The Multnomah County Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission, a governor-appointed board that reviews government budgets in the Portland area, met with the Metro Council on Thursday afternoon to discuss the coming fiscal year.
Metro is proposing a $480 million budget for the coming year, which includes about $118 million in general fund spending.
Vice chair Brendan Watkins questioned the council about uncertainty in the flow of federal transportation dollars.
"What is the risk to our area if the flow of federal transportation money is interrupted?" Watkins asked.
Metro Councilor Craig Dirksen said planning money is a relatively small part of the flow of federal transportation money.
"It's less at risk than the major funds for construction," Dirksen said. "Federal and state funds are becoming increasingly unreliable, and will remain so as long as they're dependent on gas tax money."
Commissioner Steven Nance pointed to the capital outlay Metro's put in at its Glendoveer Golf Course, and asked whether Metro's expectations have been met.
"Yes, definitely," said Councilor Shirley Craddick. "The community is very happy with what's happening. … The restaurant, Ringside, the revenue coming into the restaurant has been growing by leaps and bounds."
She pointed to new events like footgolf, and the recent Easter egg hunt at Glendoveer.
"I'm hearing, not only through the grapevine, positive comments people make, by the number of people participating in these other events," Craddick said.
"The capital improvements have been phenomenal," Nance said, "but the course conditions are not improved. They're pretty bad. It really needs some quality indicators put on it."
Councilor Kathryn Harrington asked Nance if he'd be willing to help develop those indicators, and Nance agreed.
Commissioners asked about the recent issues at the Oregon Zoo – Metro Council President Tom Hughes said "recent events have indicated that we need to beef up the veterinary program to rethink how we're going to deliver those services," – as well as about Metro's relationship to the study of the levees on the Columbia River. Metro finance director Tim Collier said Metro is participating in a state-commissioned study of the levee system near the Expo Center.
After less than an hour, the commission unanimously approved Metro's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. The Metro Council is scheduled to give final approval to its 2014-15 budget on June 19.