how your tax dollars are spent
One of the most important tasks I share with my fellow City Council members is ensuring your tax dollars are well spent. While I know most believe their taxes are high, only four percent comes to the City for general operations. Eight percent goes towards Public Safety, as voted by Happy Valley residents. Now, with the passage of the Parks and Recreation Levy, three percent will go towards the City’s parks program (previously, this same three percent had gone to North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District). The other 85% of your tax bill goes to other service providers such as the North Clackamas School District, Clackamas Fire, Clackamas County, and more. As a City Council, all we control are the tax dollars for general city services, police, and parks.
Just this last month, we had our annual Budget Committee meeting to discuss how city tax dollars and other revenues are spent. Like many cities, the Happy Valley Municipal Code follows Oregon State Law by requiring an annual budget to be balanced and adopted by the City Council no later than the end of June. Getting to this point involves a review of prior trends, projections for the future, and analysis. Most importantly, it involves input and approval from the Budget Committee which includes five local residents and the City Council members.
The City is in a positive financial position. This allows us to continue funding the services that you have come to expect such as street sweeping, maintenance of public areas, code enforcement, land use planning, economic development, and community events.
In addition, we have been able to prioritize a few new items this year, including:
• Funding for 1 new police officer
• Approval for a Community Center Feasibility Study
• Additional reserves for future capital assets such as a new public works facility
• Increase in street maintenance projects due to higher gas taxes approved by the state legislature
Beyond these tangible additions, we approved a Parks and Recreation budget following the approval of the parks levy. This will allow the City to fund park maintenance and establish new recreation programs. Also new this year, the City is in charge of the Transportation and Parks System Development Charges (SDCs) on new buildings that will go towards road expansions and new parks
It’s exciting to be able to continually improve city services and facilities. We know there are many more needs in the community and we will keep striving to meet our goals for the future.
Of the thirty-one cities in the Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington County area that collect taxes, the City of Happy Valley’s tax rate is the third lowest. It’s incumbent on us as elected leaders to spend limited city tax dollars effectively.
Finally, while the budget may have been a major focus this last month for us on City Council, our City staff prioritize the budget daily. I’m so proud of the work our entire team does throughout the year to manage our resources. It’s going to be another great year ahead.
Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer