Budget Town Hall, Survey Offers Opportunity for Public Engagement

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The city of Hermiston will host a Town Hall meeting today, Nov. 27 to share information about options to amend the city budget in 2024 and to receive public feedback on the Hermiston City Council’s next steps.

The council has spent the past five months in open meetings reviewing each city department to better understand budget needs and opportunities for cost cuts. After cutting nearly $300,000 in June to create a balanced budget for 2023-24, the council is reviewing options for cuts in other areas and new revenue sources to restore service levels and add three police officer positions.

“The Budget Committee and city council approved a budget that cut costs in a variety of ways, including leaving several public-facing service positions dark,” said Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith. “We are now looking at the potential of restoring funding for those positions and enhancing the Hermiston Police Department by finding additional revenue streams that have previously been discussed.”

Options for discussion include cuts to the materials, services, and Street Department funds; updating the Planning Department’s fee structure; increasing the Transient Room Tax on hotels/motels; creating a Business License Fee; creating a Public Safety Fee on utilities; and considering other voter-led tax options.

“These services are valuable to residents and we want the process to be open and transparent,” said Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann. “Through city council meetings, public comment, and previous surveys we have heard that maintaining a low crime rate, providing programs for youth and seniors, and reducing the burden on taxpayers is important. We’re working toward a solution that continues to make Hermiston a livable, vibrant, and affordable community.”

The Town Hall meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. today, Nov. 27 at City Hall, 180 N.E. Second St., with an opportunity to learn about the budget options and ask questions. A presentation on the city budget and an opportunity for public comment will begin at 6 p.m. Residents are invited to participate in an online survey through Dec. 8 at bit.ly/HermBudgetSurvey.

Videos from previous council meetings and General Fund department budget work sessions can be viewed at bit.ly/HermCouncilMtgs, with the subject of each meeting listed below:

  • April 10 – Budget Overview
  • June 26 – Hermiston Airport
  • July 10 – Hermiston Police Department
  • August 14 – Hermiston Public Library
  • August 28 – Water and Sewer
  • September 11 – Parks & Recreation
  • September 25 – Planning Department
  • October 9 – Administration & Finance Department
  • October 23 – Municipal Court
  • November 13 – Budget Discussion

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