Friday, July 28, 2017

Coffee with the Mayor

The City Manager’s office has asked that I be sure to share with you Mayor Chuck Bennett coming to your area. He will host Coffee with Mayor Chuck on Friday, August 11 from 7:30 am to 8:30 am at Shari’s Restaurant at 5005 Commercial Street SE. Councilor Steve McCoid will also be on hand to discuss your neighborhood needs and concerns. Please share widely with everyone in Ward 4. Here is a link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/132526577350273/.

Thank you and have a great weekend!

 

CITY OF SALEM'S FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SAVES TAXPAYERS MILLIONS IN INTEREST COSTS

CITY OF SALEM'S FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SAVES TAXPAYERS MILLIONS IN INTEREST COSTS


News Release from City of Salem
Posted on FlashAlert: July 28th, 2017 8:30 AM

Carrying out the policies of City Council, employees in the Budget and Finance Division actively work behind the scenes to manage the City's debt and find opportunities to decrease interest costs paid by taxpayers. Thanks to refinancing and prepayments of Utility Fund bond obligations, the City's cost reduction efforts have saved residents $11.5 million dollars. These actions continue the City's long-standing practice to prepay and refinance debt when market conditions are favorable.

The savings come from the City refinancing a 2009 obligation to the Utility Fund, and early payoff of a $4.8 million Utility Fund loan from the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department. The money saved will be put toward maintaining the systems necessary to deliver clean water, and treat sewage and storm water. It also relieves the commitment of other revenue sources that support services outside of the utility.

"It is because of our credit rating that we are able to get such good interest rates and savings," says City Manager Steve Powers. "The fact that Salem can offer the level of service it does, with per capita property tax revenues equal to cities much smaller than us, is a testament to our sound management practices."

The City had its AA credit rating from Standard & Poor's Global Rating for its general obligation bonds affirmed in 2016. In June 2017, Moody's, another ratings agency, upgraded the credit rating of the City's Utility Fund to Aa2. Both of these ratings show that Salem is a quality, low credit risk borrower, and that the City has a very strong ability to meet its financial commitments. These very strong scores come after a comprehensive evaluation by the ratings agencies of the City's management practices, past financial performance, and overall economic health of the community. Like credit ratings for individuals, the better the rating, the easier it is to get a loan and the lower the interest costs.

The City is in the process of another rate review that should produce favorable results for issuing bonds that will pay for the construction of the new police facility Salem voters approved in May 2017. With a favorable credit rating and interest rates, the City is looking at prepayment and refinancing options on voter-approved debt for the Streets and Bridges, and Fire Bonds.

 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

News Release from City of Salem

ADOPTED BUDGET FOR 2017-18 FISCAL YEAR SETS STRATEGIC PLAN IN MOTION


News Release from City of Salem
Posted on FlashAlert: June 29th, 2017 8:00 AM

On June 26, 2017 the Salem City Council adopted a $559.3 million budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. In addition to continuing the public safety and livability investments from last year, the budget includes several enhancements to set in motion the City's strategic plan.

For several months, the City has undertaken a strategic planning effort with the primary goal of engaging the community and elected officials to sustain efficient and effective delivery of Salem's services. Through extensive outreach and engagement, including a 2016 resident satisfaction survey, the City Council developed six initial priorities in the strategic plan. These priorities will further the City's mission to provide "... fiscally sustainable and quality services to enrich the lives of present and future residents, the quality of the environment and neighborhoods, and the vitality of our economy."

The Adopted FY 2017-18 Budget, and other recent Council actions, promote the six identified priorities:

* Vision for Growth and Development: inclusion of a multi-year Comprehensive Plan update to help guide future growth and development.

* Affordable Housing, Social Services, Homelessness: $1.4 million supporting enhancements for a joint community program to assist the hardest-to-house with temporary housing and additional support services through non-profit organizations.

* Critical Infrastructure: support of a November 2017 ballot measure to seismically upgrade and extend the life of the City Library, funding to begin work on the voter-approved $61.8 million public safety facility, an additional $350,000 for deferred maintenance, and $55.7 million for improvements to the City's transportation and utility systems and infrastructure.

* Economic Development and Downtown: continued investment in improvements to job creation and downtown vibrancy.

* Sustainable Service Delivery: dedicated funding to continue the strategic planning initiative and survey residents to inform future policy decisions.

* Public Transportation: continued partnership with the Salem-Keizer Transit District to support improvements to the public transportation system in our community.

Other budget enhancements to help achieve the vision of a safe and livable capital city include an additional deputy fire marshal to assist with inspections and fire safety.

Financial Status
The City's finances are well managed. Staffing levels remain low as a result of layoffs, attrition and cost reduction measures. These previous actions and temporary PERS relief (later overturned by the Oregon Supreme Court) have enabled the City's General Fund to remain on solid financial ground.

However, the service level the community demands and needs exceed revenues. Rising personnel costs, including an anticipated increase in PERS rates, impacts the FY 2017-18 budget. Reducing City staff could decrease some employee-related costs but would not change the City's PERS obligation.

The City's General Fund supports operations in public safety, planning, code enforcement, public library, municipal court, parks and recreation, urban development, and necessary support services. The January 2017 Five Year Financial Forecast of the General Fund shows a structural imbalance between available revenue and the cost of providing services. Relieving this imbalance may require additional revenue sources to prevent significant service reductions. New sources of revenue, however, are unlikely to cover all of the increasing costs.

The Budget Process
Through April and May 2017, the Citizen Budget Committee, comprising elected and appointed members, met to consider community input on the City's revenue estimates, as well as the costs of providing service and capital projects. The Budget Committee held a total of five meetings to review input and develop a recommended budget for the City Council. The Council conducted a public hearing on the budget on June 12 and adopted the budget on June 26. The City of Salem's new budget year starts July 1, 2017 and ends June 30, 2018.

The Citizen Budget Committee meetings were televised on CCTV and streamed live on the City's Facebook page. You can view past meetings at https://www.facebook.com/CityOfSalemOR/ and at http://www.cctvsalem.org/.

For more, check out our web page on the City's budget and plan for capital improvements http://www.cityofsalem.net/Pages/budget-and-finance.aspx

 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sumpter June 2017 Meeting Notes

PTC June 2017 Meeting Notes

1.       Welcome and introductions

Attendance: Tony Penrose, Alicia Matson, Jennifer Koenig, Rene Tyson, Jenny Hannant, Ginger Stover, Amy Tanikawa, Michelle Morrow, Kent Eiter, Janet Prats, Ro Ochoa, Karen Ochoa, Jane Morris, Faith Branson

2.                   Approval of May Minutes: Jenny Hannant motioned to approve, Tony Penrose seconded, motion passed.

3.                   School Report Mrs. Prats:

a.2 students (auction winners) were principal for a day-went well

b. Staffing changes for next year: Brittney Oliver moved to LRC , some teachers switched grades that they are going to teach. Mrs. Prats is trying hard to not have any grade blends but won’t know for sure until all students enroll at the beginning of September. If you know someone who is going into Kindergarten PLEASE encourage them to enroll asap.

4.                   Next year’s budget: PTC reviewed each line item in the budget, made adjustments as needed and voted to allocate next year’s budget. Alicia Matson motioned to approve $44,050 for next year’s budget and Jenny Hannant seconded the motion, motion passed.