Thursday, June 21, 2012

Council Plays Santa Claus with Unexpected Revenue

The city pulled in roughly $2 million more in revenue than expected this year.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 2:23 AM

The city pulled in roughly $2 million more in revenue than expected this year.

The cash, which comes mostly from an increase in tax revenues, gives the Bend City Council a chance to play Santa Claus—a rare role for the council, which has governed through some of the worst of an economic recession.

The council recently decided to save $1 million of the money and spend the other $1 million on several one-time projects.

Three areas were singled out for those one-time projects—fire/police, infrastructure and community development.

The council tentatively decided to spend the money in the following ways at its meeting Wednesday night:


1. An E-ticketing program, $150,000. This software gives traffic cops the ability to ditch paper ticketing and instead use bar codes on licenses to help record citations and crash reports. Police Chief Jeff Sale said this will save time for cops and possibly increase number of citations by about 10 percent.

2. New vehicles, $121,000. Sale said the council has cut about $850,000 from the police department’s patrol car budget. Department would buy two new patrol cars, a pick-up truck and a motorcycle.

The council decided not to spend the money on helping with a new radio communications program for police. Currently, police use a 15-year old radio system that doesn’t offer service at key places in the city, oh, say like the emergency room. But saving money through the e-ticketing should help to pay for the new radio system, so this option didn’t get picked.


1. A feasibility study to consider consolidating the city’s fire department with the area’s rural fire department, $30,000.

2. Communication hardware, $250,000. This upgrades communications equipment for the fire department that must be replaced by the end of the year.


1. Repaving of a section of Empire Avenue near the parkway, $303,888.89. This upgrade also allows the city to bring 35 curb ramps into compliance with ADA rules.

Though the city didn’t decide how it will spend the rest of the $1 million during its Wednesday night meeting, City Manager Eric King said the council is considering using the funds to assist OSU-Cascades in becoming a four-year university with its own campus. 

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