In a lengthy meeting Monday night, the Salem City Council adopted the annual city budget, rejected an ordinance to allow for taller buildings in the South Central Association of Neighbors area and applied for funding to reduce speed limits.
Last year, around a third of Salemites who called 911 had to wait more than five and a half
minutes for help to come. The Salem Fire Department, facing an increasing number of calls, hopes to add staff to improve response times.
Marion County has budgeted $27 million less for the upcoming year than the last. County officials say they have less federal money, are spending less on contracts and are rolling back wildfire recovery funding.
Salem-Keizer School District leaders plan to cut some administrative positions next year, anticipating that funding from state legislators won’t meet the level needed to maintain current services. Budget committee members Monday told the district to make deeper administrative cuts to fund a few more classroom positions.
City leaders say both a payroll tax and an increase in the city’s utility bill fee are needed if the city is to fund additional police officers. Chief Trevor Womack said the department’s budget increases over the past decade haven’t been enough to keep up with population growth.
The calls highlight the first major conflict between the new governor and legislative Democrats, who called for conservative budgets.
Salem’s Citizen Budget Committee meets Wednesday, April 19, to consider the proposed 2024 budget. Most city councilors were mum in response to Salem Reporter’s questions about the choices ahead.
Every worker in the city could face a new paycheck deduction to cover city costs under a proposal considered Wednesday by the Salem City Council.
The budget committee met Wednesday evening to discuss the next five years of funding firefighters, city streets and more. “We literally have wrung this system and organization dry,” said City Manager Keith Stahley.