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Budget and Financial Planning

  • The City's budget provides a framework for delivering essential services and provides accountability and transparency regarding the public's financial resources. The annual budget runs from July 1 through June 30. The budget process complies with Oregon budget law and is guided by key principles.

    Budget definitions
    • City Budget Shortage
    • Budget Process
    • Key Principles
    City Budget Shortage

    The City Council, City Manager and staff are working to address an anticipated $13.3  million budget shortage over the next two years, made worse by COVID-19.

    Since 1990, the General Fund gets 24 cents of every $1 in property taxes. In 1990, property taxes covered 100% of public safety (police/fire) services. Today, they cover less than half.

    City Manager 9/15 budget presentation

    City Council 9/22 policy meeting

    What we’re doing

    • To prepare, the City eliminated 26.8 positions in 2019 to save more than $3.2 million. Employees absorbed the extra work to keep service levels to the public steady.
    • Thanks to the generosity of the Portland mayor and City Commission, Gresham received $3.94 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It will reimburse some of our unanticipated COVID-19 related expenses.
    • City departments and services will make additional budget cuts. The scope will be determined after City Council decisions on potential revenue.   
    • This fall Council will vote on temporary solutions to bridge a portion of the City’s budget gap, including:
      • Reallocating one-time use of funds from the community service fee, paid to the City by Enterprise Zone companies, to keep General Fund services stable.
      • Temporarily increasing the Police, Fire and Parks Fee  from $7.50 per month to $15. Currently the fee does not cover the cost of these essential services, leaving the City with a deficit.
      • If Council If Council does not approve additional revenue this fall, the City will proceed with significant cuts over the next two budget years. This will result in reduced services including longer response times for Police and Fire, elimination of the Police Mental Health team and the Summer Kids in the Park program, and more.

    What’s next?

    • City Council plans to begin conversations with the community to explore a potential 2021 general levy to take to the voters to fund public safety and/or parks. Should a levy pass, the Police, Fire and Parks Fee could be retired.
    • The City is exploring options for enhancing our utility assistance program.


    Provide feedback or comments as the City considers next steps to develop long-term solutions that lead to more financial stability.

    Budget Process
    • Process design/financial forecasting study (July - November)
    • Develop budget proposals and Capital Improvement Plan (November - January)
    • Balance funds/finalize proposed budget (February - March)
    • Budget Committee deliberations (April - May)
    • Council adopts budget and Capital Improvement Plan (June)
    • Budget implemented (July 1)
    Key Principles
    • Protect and preserve essential services that impact daily lives and property values.
    • Enhance fiscal sustainability through multi-year financial planning and decision-making.
    • Support aggressive pursuit of investment and employment for community prosperity and fiscal health.
    • Position the organization for the future.
    • Support adopted Council Work Plan and governance process.