© 2023 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Eugene finds funds to avoid cuts to fire department, animal services

A fire engine parked in front of University Station in Eugene.
Brian Bull
A fire engine parked in front of University Station in Eugene.

The City of Eugene has come up with a way to avoid cuts to animal and fire services in its proposed budget for the next two years. It’s also seeking ways to avoid proposed cuts to the public library.

The city faces a $15 million shortfall due to factors including inflation, workforce costs, and capped property tax rates.

It planned to make cuts to some popular programs: animal services, the library, and fire department. City staff and members of the budget committee found some overspending in the Community Safety Payroll Tax that can be redirected to support fire services and the Greenhill Humane Society.

The original budget proposal included reductions in fire department staff and elimination of one of its engines. Eugene City Councilor Randy Groves is on the budget committee and is a former fire chief.

“Adding back this key resource is critical,” said Groves. “Our system doesn’t depend on any one unit. It’s a web of units. And when you show up on emergencies, it’s a real orchestrated operation.”

The city will also redirect Community Safety Payroll Tax funds to undo what would have been an 8% cut to Greenhill’s budget for the next two years. The City Manager pledged to look for ways to restore library funding as well.

Under the current budget proposal, close to a dozen staff positions at the library would be eliminated. Advocates said the spending cuts would reduce library services including the elimination of several off-site library programs.

Eugene Chief Financial Officer Twilla Miller told KLCC one way to mitigate proposed cuts to library services would be to access funds Gov. Tina Kotek has proposed putting toward early literacy programs.

“There are some actions we’re able to take in the short term to still maintain our financial stability but keep some of these core services happening with the city,” Miller said.

The City council will hold a public hearing and take action on the budget on June 26th.

Copyright 2023 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
Related Content