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Multnomah County to Spend $30 Million Surplus
Hazard pay for County employees, because Covid

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 9, approved immediately investing more than $30.4 million in homelessness services, behavioral health and public safety, using a mid-year surplus to address the community's most pressing issues.

The county says this is in response to community needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdowns and sets aside hazard pay for eligible County employees who continued to serve the public during the lockdowns.

Highlights from the budget include additional shelter beds and street outreach teams, new investments in behavioral health supports, increased capacity for vector control, and additional measures to address criminal justice reform and prevent gun violence.

“A surplus that comes at this size is rare,” Chair Deborah Kafoury said. “A surplus that arrives at such a critical, trying time in our community’s story is even more rare. And with the help of staff who have dedicated their careers to serving our community, we readily identify multiple areas where a surge of funding could help us to meaningfully improve the lives of the people who have been disproportionately harmed by this pandemic.”

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The surplus was the result of the Board both increasing the business income tax rate in 2020 and extending the tax filing deadline to May 2021, and a stronger than expected economic recovery. Final tax collections — which came in after the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget was adopted — were more than $30.4 million above what was forecasted in May 2021.

Typically, the County would incorporate such revenue into its next budget, for FY 2023. But, the county says that because of the magnitude of the issues facing the community, the Board decided to spend it immediately.

“We want to make sure we’re responding to the most urgent needs in our community, specifically those that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Budget Director Christian Elkin. “We want to center our investments on the County’s role as the safety net government and Local Public and Mental Health Authority.”


--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2021-11-10 18:28:08Last Update: 2021-11-10 18:50:35



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