The Portland City Council’s finance committee met for the first time Tuesday night to review City Manager Danielle West’s proposed $277 million municipal budget for fiscal year 2025.

The meeting kicked off with Brendan O’Connell, finance director for the city, presenting details of the budget laid out by West on Monday.

Councilors Anna Trevorrow, Anna Bullett and April Fournier sit on the finance committee along with Mayor Mark Dion. Trevorrow chairs the committee. Councilors Kate Sykes and Regina Phillips also attended Tuesday.

Early in the meeting, Sykes implored city staff to present actual figures rather than projected figures for spending.

“It is a beautiful work of fiction but it doesn’t actually tell me how much money we’re spending,” said Sykes after O’Connell’s recap of the proposed budget.

Dion offered his thoughts too.


“I appreciate the question about actual expenditures but I’m pretty confident there is something behind those projections,” he said.

Several department heads, including public works, parking and legal departments, offered more detailed looks at projected spending for their departments. This process will continue Thursday, and then again on April 24 and 25 until every city department head has presented its budget.

Michael Goldman, corporation council, presented his department’s projected expenditures, $967,362 for the current year. He noted that one position is vacant but is likely to be filled soon, which could cost the city slightly more in the next fiscal year.

Parking Director John Peverada said his department was projected to spend $1.6 million this year, but was also expected to bring in $7.7 million. Revenue from parking meters and garages has gone up as more and more people have returned to work downtown, he said.

The proposed budget also would increase the rates at the city’s Spring Street and Elm Street parking garages from $3 per hour to $4 per hour, and parking at the Ocean Gateway would increase from $20 per day to $25 per day, though that parking lot is expected to come offline when construction starts later this year on a new park.

The proposed budget estimates that the parking department would spend about $16,000 more in fiscal year 2025, and bring in an additional $450,000.


O’Connell noted that the department is “possibly the only one where revenues significantly exceed expenditures. It is lowering the property tax levy for everyone else,” he said.

Councilors and staff spoke briefly about the potential need for more parking garages in the coming years as more housing goes up in the city.

“There’s a strong contingent out there that thinks everyone’s going to take the bus and ride a bike,” said Peverada. “That’s good, I guess, if that happens, but I think we’re going to see the demand for parking increase.”

“I don’t own a car myself and I’m generally not a fan of too much more parking,” said Trevorrow. “But I do think as we increase housing we are going to see an increased need for parking.”

Mike Murray, director of public works, said his department is projected to spend $9.7 million this year. In the proposed budget, his department would be allotted an additional $831,000 next year for city maintenance, snow removal and a proposed new position focusing on traffic signals.

After officials warned in January that the property tax rate could increase by almost 10%, West proposed a $277 million general fund budget on Monday that would increase the city’s tax rate by just 4.9%.


The council voted unanimously to refer the budget to the finance committee for further review and Tuesday’s meeting marked the start of that review process.

The city has long struggled to fill about 200 vacant positions, which is costly because outside contractors often have to be brought in to fill in the gaps.

Other drivers increasing the budget include contractually obligated union wage increases, increases in health insurance costs, the expiration of one-time American Rescue Plan Act funds and a $5.7 million increase in debt service expenses.

On Thursday the committee will again convene to hear detailed budget breakdowns from the parks and recreation, public buildings and waterfront and housing and economic development departments.

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