2017-18 County Proposed Budget

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 09, 2017

$1.2 Billion Spending Plan Adopted by Board of Commissioners
UPDATED: 06/20/2017
Sponsored by: County Administrative Office

Budget Committee Considers $1.2 Billion Spending Plan


UPDATE No. 2:
The Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the 2017-18 budget on June 20, 2017. Details below. 

UPDATE: The Washington County Budget Committee unanimously approved a $1.2 billion all-funds spending plan today. The committee is made up of five appointed citizens and five elected county commissioners. Budgets for service districts serving the urban unincorporated area of the county were also passed by separate budget committees, including the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District (ESPD), Urban Roads Maintenance District (URMD), North Bethany County Service District for Roads (North Bethany CSDR) and Service District for Lighting No. 1 (SDL No. 1). The Board of Commissioners will next consider adopting the county budget at their regular meeting on June 20.

Budget Committee Meeting of May 9, 2017

Original Release:
Washington County's proposed $1.2 billion all-funds budget was presented today to the county's Budget Committee, comprised of both appointed residents and elected members of the Board of Commissioners. Steady growth in property taxes, real estate-related fees and other sources of revenue are supporting current county service levels while allowing for continued modest investments in affordable housing, mental health care and key systems and supports used throughout the organization.  

"With respect to our community, change can be measured on multiple levels," County Administrator Robert Davis wrote in the proposal's introductory pages. Noting recent statistics issued by Portland State University, Davis stated that Washington County added 13,000 more residents over the last year, or roughly 13 new residents every day. 

"The proposed budget seeks to continue to strategically target investments in the basic infrastructure supporting our community while continuing to prioritize core county services," continued Davis. 

The proposed all-funds budget, which will be the subject of a public hearing on May 18, represents a 3 percent increase over last year's adopted all-funds budget. The increase is largely explained by growth in reserve funds and steady increases in personnel costs linked to population growth. 

Expenditures anticipated from the county's general fund, the portion of the budget over which the Board of Commissioners has the most discretionary spending authority, would be $274.7 million, a 9 percent increase over last year. Revenues supporting county general fund operations grew over the last year, according to the proposed budget document. Revenues from property and other taxes increased by 4 percent compared with the 2016-17 fiscal year. This single revenue category supports roughly two-thirds of the county's general fund. 

Investments cited in the proposed budget include: 

  • Transportation – Through a collaborative process begun prior to statewide property tax reform in the 1990s, property tax revenue from the Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP) is transferred by the Board of Commissioners from the general fund, a practice that has supported over 150 projects with a cumulative countywide investment of $900 million to date. To address the capacity needs of high-growth areas, Washington County would contribute to the second year of a High Growth Transportation Program by using the incremental growth of countywide assessed value to back $23.4 million in MSTIP full faith and credit bonded funds in the proposed budget for transportation improvements in new urban areas. 
  • Affordable Housing – Using a combination of federal, state and nonprofit funding, Washington County would continue investments begun last year to expand the availability of affordable housing. Through this process, roughly 572 additional homes are anticipated to be added to the county's existing affordable housing stock.  
  • Mental Health – The new Hawthorn Walk-in Center opening this month in Hillsboro will provide an alternative from emergency rooms or even jail cells for those struggling with a mental health crisis. Operating the Hawthorn Center will involve a combination of revenue sources, including county and state health care dollars. Immediate care will be provided via contract with LifeWorks NW, and other partner organizations will offer the ongoing support. 
  • Facility Strengthening and Systems Upgrading – The county headquarters, the Charles D. Cameron Public Services Building (PSB), as well as the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) are both being structurally strengthened to withstand a major earthquake using funds from the Gain Share program, the county general fund and full faith and credit borrowing. The proposed budget would also support refurbishing an existing building into a Public Safety Training Center for use by the Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies. Finally, significant replacements and upgrades of facility and technology systems would continue to be supported in the proposed budget. 

The next step for the budget process involves a public hearing before the Budget Committee at 8:30 a.m. on May 18th in the Training Rooms on the second floor of the Washington County Walnut Street Center, 1400 SW Walnut Street, Hillsboro. The public is invited to attend this meeting and make comments at 10:30 a.m. 

The Washington County government organization has a mission of providing excellent and cost-effective services that support healthy, peaceful, safe and sustainable communities; and encouraging meaningful participation in community activities and county governance. The organization is comprised of 1,956 full-time equivalent employees.  

 

Media Contact:

Philip Bransford, Communications Officer
503-846-8685
Philip_Bransford@co.washington.or.us