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  • KOIN 6 News

    Salem City Council OKs $728M budget after protests, public outcry

    By Elise Haas,

    2024-06-11

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0Ge4vt_0tnH2XIm00

    SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Grappling with a budget shortfall, Salem city councilors voted Monday to move forward with a $728.2 million budget for next year.

    This comes after a contentious budget season and threats to cut major services to parks and libraries, as well as heated debates among constituents and councilors in recent weeks.

    Leading up to the vote, there were protests and hours of public outcry to save the library, park services that host family friendly events.

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    While the city was able to come to a resolution to fund those services for another year, they acknowledged that it’s just a Band-Aid for the time being.

    “I don’t want the community to walk away from this thinking this is good news,” said councilor Trevor Phillips, as he described city staff being stretched to a breaking point. “I think the structural problems we’re bumping up against are epic.”

    Still, the citizens of Salem came to the council meeting to applaud their leaders for listening to their needs to save library and park services.

    “They are essential services, now and in the future. They are needed for the community to thrive, youth, family, seniors and businesses. They are truly community centers,” said one Salem resident.

    “We want to thank Mayor Hoy for coming up with a plan to fund our library at the depleted level for one year, while we all work together to find adequate funding to restore full library services for all Salem residents,” added another Salem local.

    The budget proposal saved eight library employees but not all cuts were averted. A couple of job sectors were cut from other departments, including a housing-first outreach team operated by the Salem Housing Authority and a youth services development program.

    City leaders stressed the funding was a one-time fix and that harsher cuts would be necessary next year if more revenue streams weren’t created.

    Mayor Chris Hoy said he doesn’t think anyone should feel good about this budget, but that it was the best they could do with the circumstances they’re faced with.

    “I feel like the budget committee did a good job in a really difficult situation,” he said.

    City council is scheduled to adopt the budget on June 24.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to KOIN.com.

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