Reflections on the Beaverton City Council Retreat: Setting Vision and Goals
I am excited! I am also exhausted. But I am quite proud of our conversations in the February Beaverton City Council Retreat. I truly believe in the goals we set as a group of local elected leaders.
The City Council Retreat is not as exotic as it sounds. We spent the weekend in City Council Chambers talking about the current condition of the City of Beaverton administration and our community. We then talked about what we want most over the next two years.
Some of these values are absolutely foundational to the development of a changing governmental system that is also operating in times of severe financial challenges. Others are more visionary that will help our community tackle huge issues like climate change, transportation safety, and multicultural inclusiveness.
We took some big steps this weekend, and I don’t want to lose sight of that.
That said, the City of Beaverton is facing a $9M revenue shortfall. That’s substantial to say the least. It is alarming. It deserves our highest attention.
For context, the City was able to use one-time ARPA funds to balance our budget last year. It gave us stability so that we could retain staff, continue providing core services, and make a plan for how to move forward. We don’t have access to these same resources anymore. It’s going to force us to make really hard decisions regarding where we need to cut services/programs and where we need to raise more revenue.
I don’t think many people who run for office want to make decisions like this, but we need to create a fiscally sustainable city so that we can continue making progress on the incredibly meaningful community-oriented work we are doing. We will also be focused on improving our internal processes and staff support. Our governmental administration is struggling, and laying a good foundation will help us be more successful in the future.
Now for the exciting work! Some of the (drafted) City Council goals are listed below (in no particular order):
- Climate action – Updating our Tree Code and creating a stronger Climate Action Plan.
- Transportation safety – Improving our traffic calming program and continuing support for The Loop and other street designs that make life better for people walking, rolling, and taking transit.
- Welcoming City – Continuing the organizing work for a multicultural center.
- Housing – Opening the new houseless shelter and developing better housing policies that increase the supply of housing and protect renters.
- Good Governance – Making our government work more efficiently and affordably for our community while supporting a high-quality work environment for staff.
- Financial Recovery – Create a strategy for cost savings and revenue increases that can keep our City in good condition for years to come.
Over the next few months, City Council will work through the budget planning process, and we will dig into more specific program and action items. The Council Retreat is very high-level. Budgeting is more detailed.
We took great steps in the Retreat, and we will now continue forward together.
Kevin Teater is a Beaverton City Councilor whose term started in January 2023. He is the Partner of Streetview Planning LLC and serves as a board member of WakeUp Beaverton.