The Chair's Proposed Budget was presented to and approved by the Board of County Commissioners, acting as the budget committee, on May 7, 2020. These presentations do not represent the final FY 2021 Adopted Budget, scheduled to be adopted on June 23, 2020.
A Message from Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury
May 7, 2020
Two months ago, I was building an executive budget with ambitious goals for fiscal year 2021: shrink our deficit, protect and strengthen core programs, and invest in new services or bring back previously cut programs. In March, the Board of County Commissioners updated the Business Income Tax rate for the first time in more than three decades — a move that we anticipated would help provide much-needed stability for our critical safety net services.
Once the global COVID-19 pandemic touched our community, however, nearly every aspect of Multnomah County changed: from how our programs deliver services and the amount of revenue we receive, to the increasing needs of those who lost connection, jobs and the ability to put food on the table for their families.
The next year of the County’s work — and likely beyond — now looks starkly different.
Over the past two months, our projected deficit increased from $7 million to plus-$37.5 million. The structural deficit and revenue loss, coupled with the need to stand fast on core services for the community during a pandemic, opened a $58 million hole in the General Fund.
Although this executive budget addresses that shortfall, we know there is still much work ahead to address the full impact of COVID-19 on our revenues, as well as the state budget.
Despite the rapid shifts and broad uncertainties brought on by COVID-19, the core goal of the executive budget remains intact: to ensure the health, safety and resilience of our community members and of the organization through smart, equitable investments of the County’s resources...
A Message from Budget Director Christian Elkin
These are difficult and uncertain economic times. As Multnomah County prepared its FY 2021 budget, we faced some of the most significant fiscal challenges we’ve experienced. The global pandemic related to COVID-19 and the resulting economic recession is having a profound effect on individuals, businesses and governments around the world. We have entered into a worldwide, severe recession brought about by a global health crisis. The economic expansion of the last 10 years finally enabled the County to stabilize our budget, build our reserves, and strategically invest in County priorities. In FY 2021, we are entering a new reality that includes significant revenue losses and at the same time the need to increase resources to fight against COVID-19. The County is both the public health authority leading the local response to the pandemic, and the largest safety net provider responding to an unprecedented surge in demand. The budget implications of being both are unprecedented...
Please note: Most of the program offers in the Proposed budget were written in mid-February, without being informed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to determine the FY 2021 response for COVID-19, the program offers will be updated to reflect those decisions.