Take a Minute to Learn About Your City
Time is precious, and we know every second counts. That’s why the City of Tigard is creating Your City in 60—a series of minute-long videos, each covering a different city topic. The first three, which are available now, include information about how we serve residents, manage resources and address the challenges that come with growth.
How Tigard’s City Government Serves the Community (video 1)
Many of Tigard’s departments you knowingly interact with every day, such as Public Works for the roads you drive on or Police for ensuring a safe community. Other departments focus on enhancing a high quality of life, such as the Library, Parks, and Community Development. Lastly, we have departments that support our internal processes, such as City Management, Finance, and Information Systems.
All our departments work collectively and collaboratively to serve the Tigard community. As a community, we created the Vision to be the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest where people of all ages and abilities enjoy healthy and interconnected lives. This is implemented through our Strategic Plan, which is outlined by four primary goals.
- Walking and Connecting: Facilitate walking connections to develop an identity.
- Growing and Planning: Ensure development advances the vision.
- Engaging and Communicating: Engage the community through dynamic communication.
- Financing and Sustaining: Fund the vision while maintaining core services.
How Operating Expenses are Funded (video 2)
The City of Tigard has $137 million budget. However, most of our budget and revenues are legally restricted in their uses. Our General Fund, which is about $37 million, is considered unrestricted revenue. It supports operations for Police, Public Works, Community Development, Library, and all internal services, like Human Resources and Finance.
Your property taxes are one primary revenue source for the General Fund. We collect roughly $15.4 million annually in property taxes for operations. Yet, property taxes account for less than half of the General Fund. The City must collect the remaining $17 million through additional sources like including grants and business licensing fees.
Our $37 million General Fund budget is a small-city budget supporting big-city service demands - while Tigard’s population is roughly 50,000 residents, our daytime population swells to over 100,000 due to our large industrial, commercial, and retail spaces. This presents a challenge as we have to invest in our transportation, water, and public safety resources to support the residents, businesses, and visitors of Tigard.
Here’s an overly simplistic answer to this commonly asked question: the costs for providing services are increasing at a greater pace than that of revenues, despite a growth in population.
Since 2009, Tigard’s population has grown over eight percent and will continue to grow with the development occurring in River Terrace on our western boundary. At the same time, our staffing has decreased by six percent. While we continue to employ the best people, work to make our processes more efficient and use technology, our capacity to serve the public will decline as the population grows and staffing remains flat.
Some of the factors that created the fiscal cliff include:
- Tigard’s low permanent property tax levy rate ($2.51/1,000 AV), second lowest of any city in Washington County with a population over 5,000. That rate was set when Measure 50 was approved in 1997.
- City expenditures that grow at a rate about one-half of one percent faster than our resources grow (4.0% vs 3.5%), even with the actions that we have taken to curb cost growth.