Bend budget picture brightens, but there's 'buts'

Police, fire lead requests that all can't be granted

By KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 6:32 PM PST January 25, 2013 

It's time to reorganize -- that's what Bend city officials declared Friday morning during a financial strategy meeting, as a somewhat better budget picture ran head-long into a familiar situation: more needs than can be easily accommodated.

The seven citizen Budget Committee members and seven city councilors -- three newly sworn in -- spent the day discussing their bi-annual budget by giving projections over the next five years.

Police and fire officials are pushing for more resources, as they have for some time now.

Police Chief Jeff Sale said they're hoping for room in the budget for three new hires by the summer, or they'll have to cut services.

Fire Chief Larry Huhn expressed a major need for new fire engines and three more firefighters and medics by July.

City officials said things are looking up after several tight years, but they can’t meet the needs of every department.

“There are actually (more) resources to allocate over the next five years,” said City Manager Eric King. “But unfortunately, the services are exceeding or outpacing the revenues that we are seeing. So we still have to make some tough decisions, but it's a lot better."

An in-depth discussion of the controversial surface water project’s future is set for the first council meeting in February.