Unions urge citizen input at Portland city budget hearings

The District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) is encouraging union and community members to attend one of two public hearings scheduled by the City of Portland to listen to testimony on the mayor's proposed budget.

The first hearings will take place Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the King Facility, 4815 NE 7th, Portland. The second hearing is scheduled Monday, April 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Council Chambers, City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave., Portland.

Due to budget shortfalls, the Portland City Council is seeking citizen input about where to make cuts in services and programs.

"I have a suspicion that we (city employees) and the general public are on the same page as to what kinds of services citizens want delivered," said Jim McEchron, business manager of Laborers Municipal Employees Local 483 and a member of the DCTU, which is in the middle of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with the city."They have more money coming into the city than ever before. The $64,000 question is, 'What are their spending priorities?'"

The DCTU is comprised of Local 483, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 189, Electrical Workers Local 48, Plumbers and Fitters Local 290, Operating Engineers Local 701, Painters Local 10 and IAM District Lodge 24.

According to the City of Portland, last year (the first of the current biennial budget), budget cuts for administrative services totaled over $6 million. In an attempt to maintain current service levels for public services - primarily police, fire, sewer, water, transportation, planning and parks - another $5 million in reductions in administrative services are being proposed. An additional $4 million in reductions will be needed to balance the budget, according to city officials.

Citizens can weigh in electronically at:


Written testimony will be accepted until the close of the April 30 hearing at 8 p.m.

April 20, 2001 issue

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