Albany is growing and so is the demand on City services. The City will not be able to maintain the programs and services that our community has come to expect without more funding.
To maintain current City services and keep pace with our growing community and demand on City services, our community must raise around $2.5 million more per year.
In the 1990s, Oregon tax limitation measures capped property tax revenue. As a result, the City's budget has not kept pace with inflation. Property taxes are no longer enough to support existing services. Most residents are surprised to learn that revenues from property taxes alone are not enough to cover even police and fire services, let alone parks and recreation, library, municipal court, planning, or other services within the General Fund.
To provide vital programs and services for our community, your City relies on supplemental funding such as a public safety levy, state-shared revenues, franchise fees, state and federal funding, grants, program registration fees, sponsorships, private donations, and other non-property tax resources.
All City employees understand the need to be good stewards of our precious resources, and they work every day to optimize those resources. Efficiencies continue to reduce expenditures, but that's not enough to close the gap and avoid the need for new revenues.
After an evaluation of potential revenue sources between 2018 and 2020, the Albany City Council directed staff to pursue the most viable options for providing this much-needed funding, including exploring the feasibility of a city services fee.
A city services fee is a vital funding source to support valued City services.
The fee, if enacted, would be a long-term solution that could help balance the community's desire for programs and services with available financial resources. Through a city services fee, we would aim to maintain staffing and response times in police and fire, continue providing our award-winning recreation programs, upgrade decades-old playground equipment, keep our libraries open for all to enjoy, and provide planning services for sustainable, long-term growth of Albany.