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Posted on: July 23, 2020

Council's Finance Committee Continues FY21 Budget Review Process on August 5, 2020

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The Portland City Council’s Finance Committee will continue its FY21 budget review process with a series of meetings starting on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 5:30 PM. The meetings will take place remotely via Zoom and can be live-streamed at www.portlandmaine.gov/livestream. The agenda materials can be found by visiting www.portlandmaine.gov/agendas. The Finance Committee will also meet remotely on Thursday, August 6 at 5:30 PM and Wednesday, August 12 at 5:30 PM. A scheduled public hearing will be held remotely during the Wednesday, September 2 Finance Committee meeting at 5:30 PM. 

It is anticipated that the full Council will take up the FY21 budget as a first read on Wednesday, September 9 and second read on Monday, September 21. A budget workshop will be held on Monday, September 14. 

The City has faced and continues to face unprecedented revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to reduce spending, the City immediately implemented a non-essential hiring freeze and non-essential spending freeze in the middle of March. Later in March, the City began issuing temporary furlough notices to staff whose roles were impacted by the pandemic. Throughout April and May, additional staff were temporarily furloughed to further reduce spending in light of revenues falling significantly shorter than normal. In June, additional temporary furloughs were instituted across all departments, including City leadership, and all cost of living adjustments and performance pay increases for non-union employees were frozen. 

City Manager Jon Jennings had originally prepared a FY21 budget that only included a 1.8% tax rate increase generally aligned with inflation. In light of the pandemic and the State’s Order that granted municipalities more time to review and approve the next year’s fiscal budget, the City automatically carried over its FY20 budget on July 1 and began work on preparing a new FY21 budget with the goal of no property tax rate increase. 

The City’s Finance Director, Brendan O’Connell, will give a presentation to the Finance Committee on August 5 before the Committee begins its review of each City department budget. 

O’Connell commented on the upcoming review, saying “unprecedented revenue losses coupled with significant COVID-19 related expenditures have made this an incredibly difficult budget year. We look forward to continuing the conversation with the Council about how these challenges will shape our budget for FY21.”

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