Commissioner Meieran FY2019 Community Budget Survey

In Commissioner Meieran's April 2018 newsletter, she invited members of the public to participate in a Google-form survey about Multnomah County's fiscal year 2019 budget. In the survey, respondents were asked to identify which County services should be prioritized in the budget given the needs our community faces today. The survey included 36 budget priorities grouped across six categories. Priorities included:

  • Human Services

    • Aging services
    • Disability services, including intellectual, physical and developmental
    • Domestic and sexual violence services
    • Food assistance, including food stamps (SNAP), school meals
    • Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Schools
    • Veterans’ services
  • Health

    • Addiction and substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery
    • Ambulance and other emergency medical services
    • Bugs and pests, such as rodent and mosquito control
    • Community health and wellness, such as tobacco prevention, promoting healthy eating and addressing health inequities
    • Food safety, including restaurants and food carts
    • Mental health care
    • Illness prevention, including vaccination clinics, disease outbreak monitoring and intervention
    • Health clinics, including STD clinics, refugee clinics, family planning clinics
    • Maternal, child, and family health services
    • Student health centers
  • Housing

    • Homelessness prevention, such as short-term rent assistance
    • Shelter services
    • Supportive housing, including health, mental health, and other services that keep people housed
    • Affordable housing
    • Hygiene access (bathrooms, showers and laundry for people experiencing homelessness)
    • Environmental impacts of homelessness
    • Energy assistance and weatherization
  • Public Safety

    • Jails
    • Transition support for people who have been incarcerated
    • Victims’ services
    • Parole and probation for juveniles
    • Parole and probation for adults
    • Prosecution of criminal activity
    • Health care in jails, including mental health care and addictions treatment
  • Transportation and Planning

    • Emergency preparedness and management services, including earthquake and wildfire
    • Land use planning in unincorporated Multnomah County, such as building and other permits and uses in rural parts of the County
    • Roads located in unincorporated Multnomah County
    • Multnomah County bridges, including six Willamette River bridges and 20 other bridges throughout the County
  • Other

    • Pet adoption and licensing; Animal abuse and neglect investigations
    • Elections

Survey Results

The budget survey remained open for 2 weeks. In that time 35 people responded. Respondents most frequently selected priorities in the categories of Health (32 responses), Housing (30 responses), Human Services (29 responses), and Public Safety (29 responses). 

Eight specific budget items were identified as top priorities. Each of these eight priorities were chosen by at least 15 respondents: 

  • Addiction and substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery
  • Food assistance, including food stamps (SNAP), school meals
  • Health care in jails, including mental health care and addictions treatment
  • Homelessness prevention, such as short-term rent assistance
  • Jails
  • Mental health care
  • Multnomah County bridges, including six Willamette River bridges and 20 other bridges throughout the County
  • Supportive housing, including health, mental health, and other services that keep people housed.
The final survey question was open-ended, in which respondents were asked to share any other information about budget priorities that the respondent would like Commissioner Meieran to consider. Eight responses were recorded. Responses included calls for specific attention to issues such as chronic pain, the intersection of addiction and the homeless crisis, the delivery of collaborative and coordinated services, transportation safety, rent assistance, and health services among underserved populations.