City of Eugene wants your help deciding on $3M in budget cuts

      EUGENE, Ore. - The City of Eugene is trying to balance its budget for 2014-2015.

      In recent years, over $24 million 100 positions have been cut from city government, according to Ken Beeson, who sits on the Eugene Budget Committee.

      Despite these efforts, Eugene still needs to cut spending by $3 million next fiscal year.

      The 16-member Budget Committee is asking for the public's help deciding how to make the cuts.

      They want to figure out where cuts should be made, based on the priorities of citizens.

      Should the Sheldon and Bethel library branches be closed? That idea is on the table.

      Other areas possibly impacted could be public safety, human services and the parks and recreation department.

      One proposal is to make a 2 percent cut across all city departments.

      But before a proposal is made this spring, the Budget Committee wants public feedback.

      "We're looking to get people to come and talk with us about what their perspectives are and maybe what they're priorities would be on how you'd make these reductions," Beeson said.

      By the end of June, a recommendation will need to be approved by the City Council.

      Residents have had different ideas about where cuts should be made.

      Barbi McLain reluctantly agreed library branches should be closed to ensure the downtown facility remains open.

      "Downtown library is our place to go. I think it's essential for the health of downtown as well, to have that library fully funded," McLain told KMTR NewsSource 16.

      Johanna Mitchell agrees, but believes the 2 percent cuts across the board are a better compromise.

      "I don't want to prioritize it because they're all important," she said.

      Public forums are scheduled for January 21 at 5:30 pm in Harris Hall (County Building), and January 28 at 5:30 pm in the Bascom-Tykeson Room (Eugene Public Library).

      You can learn more by visiting the City of Eugene website.