PORTLAND – The city of Portland is expecting a Christmas bonus courtesy of a booming housing market.
The city anticipates it will have $9.2 million in extra cash in the next fiscal year, according to the city’s budget office. Of that, there will be $3.3 million in one-time funds and $5.8 million in “on-going program spending.”
The slight uptick in revenue, about 1.4 percent, is due in part to higher property values and increases in business license income. Last year, the city chose to spend $8.5 million to pay down debts which also freed up more money for public coffers.
Mayor Charlie Hales and city council will now have to decide what they want to do with the new found cash, like restoring spending cuts, creating new programs or saving for a rainy day. The announcement comes one day after Commissioner Steve Novick mailed a letter to Santa asking for him to help with a growing list of unfunded transportation projects.
In April the mayor announced that water rates would increase 3.6 percent and sewer rates would increase by 5.33 percent. Hales campaigned on getting the city’s skyrocketing rates under control.
The budget office report says it did not expect further surpluses in the next fiscal year.