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Bureau-Level Budgeting in a Crisis Year

By Eva Schweber

Abstract

property taxes back to earlier levels and capped all future tax increases at 3 % per year. The terms of Measure 47 reduced the City of Portland's General Fund revenues, forcing General Fund-reliant bureaus to significantly reduce their budgets. The revenue shortfall was so large that the City Council mandated all bureaus to devise an inclusive decision-making process. At the time the measure passed, one such General Fund reliant bureau was nearing completion on an organizational assessment that identified the bureau’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. Historically, the bureau in question had a very strong oral culture and the Management Team has made decisions based more on intuition than on explicit criteria. The information acquired through the organizational assessment process provided the budget team a rational justification for their decisions, something that had been unavailable prior to that point in time. The newly available data, used in conjunction with a mission-based set of priorities and broad stakeholder input resulting in a budgeting process deemed successful by the Mayor, City Council as well as the bureau’s staff and stakeholders. The Measure 47 budget process was highly successful because there was both an effective balance of public acceptability and defensible analysis. Portland Parks & Recreation Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is the single largest recreation provider in th

Year: 2011
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