City of Ashland facing $2M deficit heading into budgeting process

ASHLAND, Ore. — The City of Ashland is facing a projected $2 million deficit heading into the budgeting process for the next biennium.

With that deficit, major cuts could be in store.

“No, it’s not normal,” said Ashland City Councilor Julie Akins, talking about the potential deficit.

Ashland City Councilors and Budget Committee members met for the first time Wednesday night.

They’re facing a tall task—trying to balance a projected $2 million deficit.

“We must zero balance that,” Akins said. “So no, it’s not normal, we’re in a bit of a pickle here.”

“They’re going to have to make cutbacks this year,” said Russ Silbiger, former Ashland City Councilor and former Budget Committee member, “and nobody wants to make cutbacks.”

Silbiger claims the City of Ashland’s budget isn’t prioritized enough.

“We don’t prioritize what we do,” Silbiger said. “We don’t say these are the things we have to do, these are the things we can do, these are the things we want to do… but we just can’t do it.”

But Akins said the city is prepared to move forward.

“The city administrator’s fond of saying we don’t need to go on and on about the past, we just need to take it forward in a new direction,” Akins said.

The budget process is lengthy with many meetings scheduled, and all options are on the table including not hiring as many outside consultants, paying less in overtime or waiting to fill open positions until next year.

“We, I think, broke faith with our residents in the citizen budget committee in our last process,” Akins said, “and our number one goal is not to do that this time.”

According to a calendar on the city’s website, the council will adopt a new budget in early June.

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