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Funding Challenges and Solutions

  • We are often asked, “Why does Gresham have so many budget challenges?”

    1. Rising costs
    2. Flat fees 
    3. State limits on property taxes

    Gresham community members desire and deserve a full-service City organization with the resources to deliver exceptional services that support a high quality of life.

    The City’s Financial Road Map is our plan to reliably supply core services.

    Our temporary solutions

    • Extended the monthly $15 Police, Fire and Parks Fee through June 30, 2023, to avoid service cuts.
    • Used one-time American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to pay for immediate community and City priorities.
    • Balanced the City budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.
    • Approved the Gresham Financial Road Map.

    The challenges Gresham faces

    • A graphic chart titled Property Tax Comparison that shows the cities who pay the most property tax (Portland, Albany, Eugene, etc) and cities at the bottom, Gresham and Fairview.
    • Gresham is larger, with less

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    • A tale of two cities: An eye-opening look at Gresham's financial challenge.

    • This graphic chart of Oregon cities shows Gresham has one of the lowest property tax rates in the state. This is because of voter-approved statewide measures. The graphic also highlights cities with voter-approved levies to fund more services: Portland, Albany, Eugene, Springfield, Corvallis and Hillsboro. In Gresham, the City Charter requires all property taxes to go to the General Fund for public safety.

    • This graphic compares Hillsboro, a similar size city (whose voters approved a levy) to Gresham. Hillsboro's General Fund revenue is $123 million compared to Gresham's $85 million. Hillsboro can provide faster responses to emergencies and more services to its residents because it is operating with a larger budget and more staff.

    • Watch this short overview of Gresham's budget process and structure.

  • Gresham's financial future

    • How We Got Here
    • Council Meetings and Discussion
    • Contact
    How We Got Here

    Gresham is a place we are proud to call home. From our small-town feel with big-city conveniences to the green trees and rolling hills, friendly neighbors, charming centers and vibrant cultural diversity.

    As a Gresham resident, you pay taxes and fees. The City uses these dollars to supply core services you need to live your life safely, including fire and police.

    Because of Oregon’s property tax limits, frozen since 1991, Gresham struggles to pay for and maintain life-saving public safety services for this fast-growing community. 

    City strategy

    • Advocating for action at the state level with partners to address property tax challenges.
    • Reviewing current and ideal future needs; staffing levels, budget.
    • Evaluating revenue tools both existing (Police, Fire and Parks fee) and new, a levy, bond measure or special district.
    • Including community priorities in the Gresham Strategic Plan.
    • Checking in with City Council at key milestones for direction.

    Steps taken so far

    • Held City Council briefings on the property tax system, revenue options and financial forecast.
    • Extended the Rockwood-West Gresham Urban Renewal District another six years, to 2029. Thank you, Gresham!
    • Approved a five-year utility rates package for future certainty, starting January 2023.
    • Reviewed utility bill assistance needs with a community survey. Added $120,000 in community assistance using ARPA funds
    • Stabilizing the organization's budget gap for 2022-23 using one-time ARPA funds.
    Council Meetings and Discussion

    The City Council is considering options to raise a minimum of $28.2 million to stabilize the City’s financial forecast by the fiscal year 2025-26.

    The Financial Road Map outlines the revenue tools needed to reduce the projected deficit between revenue and expenses and to improve service delivery.

    Next steps

    • Staff is working on implementing the proposed revenue tools for FY 2023/24, including preparing a proposed City Services fee structure and rate for Council approval.
    • The City Council approved referring the Gresham Safety Levy to voters in the May 16 special election. If approved by voters, the five-year property tax would provide resources for day-to-day operations. This will stabilize Police and Fire services, expand Homeless Services availability to evenings and weekends, and avoid layoffs. Read about the Gresham Safety Levy

    Catch up


    Assistant City Manager