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Silverton budget – $75M plan

By James Day

The Silverton Budget Committee is moving toward approval of a $75 million budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year.

The committee, which consists of Mayor Jason Freilinger, the six councilors and seven citizen members, heard the budget message from the city manager at a May 7 session and began its review of the document. Final passage could come at the committee’s May 9 session (after Our Town deadline) or, if necessary, on May 16. The council is espected to sign off on the budget at its June 17 meeting.

The budget message delivered by City Manager Cory Misley, calls for the addition of 5.5 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) to the city payroll. Four of the positions would be in Public Works, with the Police Department adding an administrative technician and a half-time position being added in the Finance Department. 

If the committee and the council approve the changes, the city’s workforce would be at 60.42 FTEs, up from 54.92 in the 2023-24 budget.

Three of the Public Works positions would be utility workers, who would swing between work in Public Works and parks maintenance, which city officials identified as a key community need during work updating the city’s parks master plan.

The budget also includes sizable parks spending, including $1.25 million for pickleball courts on Westfield Street behind the skate park and the Senior Center. A total of $750,000 of the funds are scheduled to come from an Oregon Parks and Recreation Department grant. Also, the budget calls for spending $500,000 on the trail at Pettit Lake, approximately $265,000 on swimming pool upgrades and $150,000 for design work for a park planned for the south end of the former Eugene Field School site and new civic center.

As almost always is the case with city budgets, Public Works projects dominate the capital expenditures. Silverton plans to spend $600,000 for improvements to the water treatment plant, $584,000 on a new Vactor truck that cleans sewer lines, $500,000 to study an aquifer water storage and recovery proposal (half of the money is expected to come from a state grant), $450,000 to engineer and design a new water tank on Edison Road NE and $300,000 on a new roof at the Public Works compound on McClaine Street.

The budget calls for continuing to spend approximately $580,000 per year on debt service for the new City Hall building. The city is in the third year of repaying a 25-year, $10 million loan that is helping pay for the $19.5 million project. The building is set to open on or about the first of June, nearly a year late and about 5% over its construction budget.

The budget also includes funds to pay for 6% cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for non-union employees, 5% COLAs for members of the police union and 3.6% COLAs and a 1% market adjustment for union Public Works employees.

No amendments have been proposed to the budget as of the Our Town deadline, and no one spoke in favor or against the budget plan during the public comment portion of the May 7 meeting. That meeting also included approval of the city’s urban renewal spending plan of approximately $3.9 million. The key project that funding will support is a proposed downtown improvement project on Main Street between Water Street and First Street.

Here is a look at action from the May 6 regular council session:

City Hall: City Manager Misley announced that the new building is scheduled to receive its temporary certificate of final occupancy on May 27. A celebration of the opening is set for June 7 during First Friday.

Elections: The general election is Nov. 5. On the ballot will be the position of mayor, now held by Jason Freilinger, and the positions of councilors Elvi Cuellar Sutton, Jess Miller and Matt Gaitan. The term for the mayor is two years, four years for councilors. Packets will be available for prospective candidates on June 5 at City Hall. Candidates can either pay a $50 filing file or file by petition by gathering 20 qualified elector signatures. Signatures must be turned in by Aug. 27 and will be certified by Sept 5.

Affordable Housing: The city has selected DevNW and Hacienda to be the two final bidders for an affordable housing complex on city property behind the skate park and the Senior Center. The next step in the process will be a joint meeting of the council and the Affordable Housing Task Force at which the two finalists will give presentations. No date has been set for that meeting.

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