LEBANON — The Lebanon City Council on Wednesday approved a budget of just under $60 million for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The final budget amount of about $59.6 million represents a nearly $5 million increase from the 2018-19 fiscal year (about $54.8 million).
The budget maintains the city’s current level of services in all departments, with operating appropriations up 6.5%. The city’s obligations to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System represent a significant part of that increase.
The budget adds 2.7 full-time equivalent positions to the city’s payroll:
• One full-time bus dispatcher.
• One full-time bus driver.
• One half-time bus driver.
• Increasing the city’s Community Development Director position from .8 FTE to full-time.
The budget also sets aside $165,000 for future improvements at Ralston Park. The council approved the proposed master plan for that park on Wednesday and while no work is expected to begin on the project in this fiscal year, the council wants to begin setting aside funds for the improvements.
The city is also seeking a state parks grant to assist in funding the Ralston Park improvements.
The city provides support to a range of community programs and services. For this fiscal year, the city increased its support to the Lebanon Downtown Association for its Main Street Manager position from $10,000 to $25,000.
Mayor Paul Aziz asked that the city look into the possibility of refunding Samaritan Health Services about $116,000 it has already paid in system development charges for the new residential addiction treatment facility it is building in Lebanon.
Samaritan broke ground on that facility on Tuesday and it's expected to open in spring 2020.
City Manager Gary Marks noted that the city waived the system development charges for other improvements made by Samaritan within the North Gateway Urban Renewal District.
“For this URD, this is really in line with the way we’ve implemented the development agreement with Samaritan. Virtually every project that Samaritan has done one the Samaritan campus, which is what this URD is about, part of our deal was we reimburse them for building permits and for system development charges,” Marks said. “This facility, because it wasn’t foreseen at the time of that development agreement, is outside of that agreement.”
Both Aziz and Marks emphasized that the funds being reimbursed will not come from the city’s general fund but will come out of the funds set aside for the urban renewal district.
No decision was made on this question Wednesday night and Marks said it was most appropriate for him to bring a formal request to the next council session in July.