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Approved budget freezes city employees's salaries

The 2012 budget that Oregon City Council approved last week freezes employees' salaries and does not call for any tax or city fee increases, layoffs, or new major projects.

The council unanimously approved the budget during its Dec. 19 meeting.

"We feel good about the direction the city is heading," Oregon City Administrator Michael Beazley said, citing an improving local economy.

The city is anticipating it will spend $15.98 million in its general fund, compared to about $16.69 million in 2011, Mr. Beazley said.

It's the third straight year the city reduced the size of its general fund budget, which focuses on spending money for the city's core services, the city administrator said.

The biggest revenue challenges for the city are dealing with state funding cuts and a drop in return on the city's investments, which equal a combined estimated $2 million drop in 2012 from previous years, officials said.

What helps is that the city's staff of full-time employees will be down to about 180 positions, 10 fewer positions than 2011 because of retirements.

"We're emphasizing cross-training of employees so we can successfully deal with attrition," said Councilman James Seaman, who is head of the city council's finance committee.

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