Dear friends and neighbors,
Last week, I released my FY 2023 Executive Budget. At $3.3 billion, it’s the largest budget in our organization’s history, and was carefully built to meet the needs and opportunities of our current moment.
My proposed budget maintains Multnomah County’s core safety net services that will continue to be critical for the stability and well-being of those we serve as we transition beyond the pandemic. At the same time, the Executive Budget also plans beyond our most immediate needs in order to make meaningful progress toward our vision of community transformation.
Countless hours have been poured into putting together this proposed budget, but there’s still a lot of work to do before it comes to a vote for adoption by the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, June 16. This week, we received a budget overview from the Budget Office, and we are currently holding our first set of County department budget presentations to review budget proposals. These worksessions will continue over the next several weeks.
But the community’s voice — your voice — is an integral part of the budgeting process, too. Hearing and reading feedback from members of the public helps us continue working toward a County budget that reflects the community’s values and priorities.
This year, Multnomah County will hold virtual budget hearings from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18; Wednesday, May 25; and Wednesday, June 1.
Community members who want to provide oral testimony during a budget hearing can sign up at multco.us/budget-feedback. The same webform can also be used to submit written comments, which will be shared with each commissioner and their staff prior to the hearings.
For those who want to watch the virtual budget hearing, each event will be livestreamed on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners’ YouTube channel. Interpretation will be available in Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Somali and American Sign Language.
Budget hearings give people the chance to share honestly and passionately what they think about the proposed budget, and what they want to see included. Their testimony is informative and compelling, and often moving.
But there’s something more that I’ve learned in my years of attending these public budget hearings: People’s testimonies are also deeply revealing. The thoughts that they offer shed light on their visions for what they believe our community can and should be, and their trust in Multnomah County’s ability to be a driving force for achieving it.
And while our budget hearings will once again be held virtually to ensure the public’s health and safety, I’m confident that community members will show up with the same passion and energy for creating a county where everyone can find safety, stability and opportunities to thrive.
I hope that you will be able to join the conversation this year.
Please stay safe and stay healthy,
Multnomah County Chair