While the City of Salem overall, for the $600 million enterprise, is in good fiscal health, the City faces some challenges. For the City's General Fund, the Fiscal Year 2020 proposed budget begins on July 1, 2019, with a necessary alignment of revenues and expenditures. Unfortunately to achieve alignment, funding for a small number of programs will be discontinued.
The City's General Fund supports public safety, planning, code enforcement, public library, social services, municipal court, parks and recreation, and other services that provide a citywide benefit. For these services, Salem is using working capital, or one-time savings, to fund recurring services. As a result, the City will be unable to sustain all services at current levels. Aligning recurring revenues with recurring expenditures is necessary to sustain services to our community in the future.
To achieve the goal of bringing costs in line with available resources, we are proposing in this coming year's budget (Fiscal Year 2020), to reduce costs by:
- Scaling back Salem's Homeless Rental Assistance Program to provide funding for housing of fifty more homeless persons in our community. In 2017, Salem invested $1.4 million in this housing first program, and since that time more than 110 homeless individuals have moved into housing. In addition to shelter, the program focuses on the most vulnerable, hardest to house individuals and provides them with medical and mental health treatment, intensive case management, and other resources. With this level of funding, we can keep pace with available housing.
- Eliminating funding for the proposed Sobering Center. The City of Salem is one of the groups interested in a safe, clean, and supervised space to become sober and connect to further treatment. Annual estimated costs to operate the sobering center exceed available resources. The proposed budget eliminates City funding for this effort.
- Nationally, the DARE Program has been in place for 30 years. In Salem, one officer provides DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) training in our elementary schools. Our work within Salem's schools continues and we work with School District staff to identify at-risk youth and families needing early intervention. In the FY 2020 Budget, we are discontinuing DARE. Our DARE officer will be repositioned to another role within Salem Police.
- Formerly a program of Salem Keizer Public Schools, Salem's Youth Program focuses on programs and activities for out-of-school time of local adolescent youth through annual financial support for middle school-aged programs and the Teen Action Team Initiative, a framework for youth civic engagement.
These changes will have an impact in our community. We are also making changes inside the organization to reduce our costs, and making staffing adjustments to save money. In addition to the changes to programs, we are reducing the number of City position in the General Fund by the equivalent of 8.75 full-time positions. Several currently vacant positions will remain vacant. And, the Deputy City Manager position is being repurposed to a Chief Financial Officer who will also assume Budget Officer duties.