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HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany gets an outline of budget woes

Written April 3rd, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Albany’s Maple Lawn property, where the city’s preschool program may fall victim to budget cuts.

Albany’s city government faces budget cuts and potential layoffs over the next two years. That, in short, was the message City Manager Peter Troedsson had for the city budget committee Tuesday.

He laid out the problem in a detailed presentation. You can read it on the city’s website, cityofalbany.net, later today, or you can listen to the audio here now. As I understood it, the gist of it was that while the economy has been strong and city tax revenues are increasing, expenses are rising faster and there are signs of a weakening economy ahead.

The budget committee met in a half-hour work session to hear Troedsson’s outline of the issues. Its first regular meeting is set for May 7. The city now is working on a two-year budget — the plan for income and expenses of all its programs and activities — for 2019-21.

Among the cost increases are a 33 jump in the city’s PERS expenses and a 17 percent boost in health insurance. This is compounded by increase in the number of positions, up 53 over the last five years, 45 of them funded.

Troedsson talked about making savings and cutbacks in all the general fund departments including fire, police, parks and recreation, planning, the library, and the city court. Wherever possible, Troedsson said, reductions would be achieved by not filling positions that become vacant. But he also said layoffs may be necessary “unless the landscape changes.”

He mentioned the Maple Lawn preschool, which the city staff envisions closing. This will be especially painful to the teachers and parents, the manager said. For decades the school has enrolled up to 89 children at a time for preschool programs. The equivalent of about three full-time jobs are involved. The school charges tuition and fees, but evidently the income is not enough to support the expense.

As you can imagine, there will be plenty of public discussion about all this before the city council eventually adopts a budget, which it must do by the end of June. (hh)

A window at Maple Lawn on Tuesday afternoon.



13 responses to “Albany gets an outline of budget woes”

  1. n8 says:

    public and private pensions will be the next thing to crash the economy.

  2. Jim Engel says:

    And not one mention of the City Manager & upper staff taking a pay cut to ease the burden!! The guy can’t type his own letters! Those types build a pyramid of underlings to boost themselves higher & claim “they” need staff to support them! City, County, State, Federal are all the same!!!

  3. Bill says:

    Budget cuts and potential layoffs? Are those words in the city’s vocabulary?
    “What means budget cut’s traveler?” I’m due back on my home planet.

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    And the usual folks start to surface with their erudite comments…

  5. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Would $1,181,603.77 help? The money is available if the city council has the political will to pick this low hanging fruit.

    This is the amount that CARA skimmed from the city’s general fund during the fiscal year without voter approval to help pay for the CARA debt that was created without voter approval.

    Stop the skimming. Budget problem solved.

    http://www.co.linn.or.us/assessorshomep/docs/2018/SAL4E.pdf

  6. J. Jacobson says:

    What we learned is that with 33% increase in PERS and 17% increase in City employees health care costs, it seems increasingly difficult for the City to perform its primary function – to deliver goods and services as determined by the tax paying electorate.

    As the City grows ever more burdened by pension costs and other job benefits, the poor and homeless of Albany will be the first to feel Troeddson’s slashing budget axe. So, despite the Mayor’s personal campaign to “get a roof over a person’s head instead of enabling he/she to stay homeless,” is likely taking a backseat to increasing pension and health benefits.

  7. Ms J says:

    I suppose if I received a 12.5% raise on top of an existing salary of $153,456 after a scant 1 year on the job, I could feel good about myself giving up 5% and keeping the other 7.5% — but I wouldn’t.

    Why? – because even 7.5% is exorbitant, let alone 12.5%, more so after only 1 year of employment.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Then I suppose if you had the requisite skills necessary to do the job, you would accept less, but…

      • Ms J says:

        The City Manager must have acquired a remarkable amount of additional skills during the course of his first year for Council to authorize a 12.5% raise.

        Rewards of this magnitude contributes to and is one of the many reasons why Albany has budget woes that may result in layoffs.

        I would bet the majority of all Albany employees, from bottom to top, do their jobs reasonably well, but I have yet to hear/read that those not in the higher-up positions receive anything near a 12.5% raise.

    • Peg Richner says:

      Thank you Ms J, since I had much the same thought.

  8. DA says:

    You pay for what you get.

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