Public encouraged to watch, provide comment
Clackamas County’s annual Budget Hearings begin this coming Monday, May 22. These hearings are a critical component to establishing the forthcoming Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget for Clackamas County and the many service districts that it oversees.
The schedule is as follows, with all sessions starting at 8:30 a.m.:
- Monday, May 22: Service Districts/Authorities. Committee meetings, with public hearings, kick off with budget presentations and expected approvals of the eight service districts/authorities that Clackamas County oversees, including: Clackamas Water Environment Services (WES), Development Agency, Enhanced Law Enforcement District, Housing Authority of Clackamas County, Library Services District, North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District, Extension and 4-H Service District, and Street Lighting District #5.
- Tuesday, May 23: County Operating Budget. The County Administrator starts these proceedings by delivering the proposed budget to the Clackamas County Budget Committee. The committee is made up of the five members of the Board of County Commissioners and five members of the public. The County Administrator’s budget message, budget overview and proposed budget, as well as the schedule for the departmental budgets being discussed, can be found online.
- Tuesday evening, May 23: Public Testimony. At 6 p.m. on Tuesday night, the public is invited to provide comment to the Budget Committee about the proposed budget. Participation options are outlined below.
- Wednesday, May 24 – Thursday, May 25: Deliberation. Once the proposed budget is reviewed and the public has commented at the public testimony, the members of the county’s Budget Committee begin their deliberation. Committee members may accept, reject or modify the proposed budget. State law dictates that the county’s budget must be balanced. This process goes on until at least six of ten committee members approve a budget.
Each service district, and the county overall, have unique budget committees made up of the five county commissioners and five members of the public. The Housing Authority of Clackamas County’s budget is reviewed by its Board, which is comprised of the five commissioners and one member of the public.
Once the county’s overall approved budget is completed at the end of these proceedings, that budget then goes to the Board of County Commissioners weeks later. The board may accept, reject or modify the approved budget. The county’s finalized budget goes into effect on July 1, 2023.
Public feedback and community participation are important to establish budgets. Each service district/authority meeting features a public testimony period near the end. The county’s overall Budget Committee will take public comment starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23. Those wishing to provide comment will be prompted by the facilitator to speak when it is their turn.
- Virtual Viewing: For members of the public that would like to view the meetings, but not participate, #ClackCo TV will live stream the meetings on YouTube.
- In-Person Attendance: All budget meetings, and the public testimony sessions, will be held in person in the Board Hearing Room (4th Floor, Public Service Building, 2051 Kaen Road, Oregon City). All members of the public visiting the Public Service Building should sign in at the front desk of the lobby. Those wishing to provide comment at the end of any service district/authority meeting, or during the public testimony for the overall county budget, will be told how to do so at those meetings. Public comment is not taken for the overall county budget outside of the public hearing.
- Virtual comments: Members of the public wishing to provide comments virtually over Zoom for services districts/authorities at the end of each one’s session, or during the overall county budget public testimony on Tuesday night.
Stakeholders will be told how to provide testimony during those meetings. The Zoom platform allows the public to provide live comments over computers or the phone.
- Emailed Public Comments: The public has the option of submitting comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those submissions will not be read aloud during the public comment periods, but will be sent to the relevant committee members and added to the record. Please email public comments with the Subject Line of either “County Budget public comment” or “[Service District/Authority Name] public comment.” Parties should include their name and area of residence.
Fiscal Year 2023-24 and the General Fund
For the coming Fiscal Year, Clackamas County is seeking to reduce its General Fund spending on services and programs by $15 million, or approximately 10%. The General Fund is overwhelmingly made up of property taxes the county receives for general operations. A full explanation and breakdown can be reviewed and accessed through our budget page. General Fund dollars are discretionary, meaning the Board of County Commissioners can generally allocate them however it chooses.
Primarily, this action is being taken to fund the replacement county courthouse, a Board decision that was finalized last year.