If you missed it, you really missed the annual Heights Business Association Impact meeting. Props to Jack Trumbull of Anderson’s Tribute Center, for pulling it together, and, in his delightfully droll manner, guiding a host of public officials through their reports, and follow-on questions.
There was a lot of detail, and I won’t dump it all on you here, but suffice to say, local governments are wrestling with the economy as well. From the city, room tax revenues continue on track to increase at the recent annual average of 3% per year, but mayor Arthur Babitz warned that city has insufficient reserves to weather a storm, despite having pulled itself out of a recent budget hole.
County Administrator Dave Meriwether, comic timing intact, noted that the crash of the housing industry has sorely dented the county’s ability to cut and sell trees from its 30,000 acres of timberland. Since those sales make up roughly 50% of the county general fund budget, he and other county managers are looking at tight times ahead.
The Hood River County School District board last night (Weds, 3/18) approved a reduction of three work days (i.e. “pay” days) for teachers, to save about $390,000. But Superintendent Pat Evenson-Brady says anticipate state revenue shortfalls mean bigger adjustments lie ahead.