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Deschutes County proposes flat $507 million budget, but it still includes big projects

(Update: adding video, more comments from county administrator)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County has released its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021. The total budget, including county service districts, is $507,820,468, which represents an increase of 0.8% from last year.

The county’s Budget Committee is reviewing the proposed budget this week, beginning Tuesday. A full schedule is available online.

“Like other local governments, we anticipate that we may see a decrease in some revenue streams, due to COVID-19,” said County Administrator Tom Anderson. “However, because of our strong tax base and reserves, we remain in a relatively strong financial position.”

Immediate impacts due to COVID-19 have been felt at the Fair & Expo Center, and those event-related impacts will likely continue into next year.

Anderson told NewsChannel 21 the Fair & Expo make up about 80 to 90 percent of the event activities revenue.

"Well, certainly Fair & Expo was a department that got hit the soonest and the hardest by the pandemic," Anderson said. "In fact, their events just stopped cold, and we don't know when we'll be able to start back up again. And since event revenue is really what funds that department, we've had to scramble to avoid employee layoffs."

Moving into next year, the county anticipates reductions in state and federal revenue, which may impact Health Services and Community Justice.

Anderson told NewsChannel 21 that fortunately, the county has reserves that will help some programs.

“In terms of finances, with our share of the (federal) CARES Act and with our reimbursement with FEMA later on, we will be able to make ourselves whole, in terms of the expense related to the response," he said.

"So really, that frees us up to do more traditional-type budgeting, in terms of allocating our resources across those areas where they are most needed in the community,” he added.

Highlights from the county’s proposed budget include:

  • The Deschutes County Road Department is proposing to spend $15.2 million on capital projects, including building one roundabout at Old Bend-RedmondRedmond Highway/Tumalo Road and another at Tumalo Road/Tumalo Place.
  • The Department of Solid Waste plans to spend $6.1 million to modernize the Negus Transfer Station in Redmond.
  • Deschutes 9-1-1 plans to complete construction of a new radio site on Overturf Butte, which will provide enhanced radio coverage for first responders in Bend and complete design on several other infrastructure enhancements.
  • The Health Services Department, in partnership with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, other law enforcement agencies and external partners, will be opening the Crisis Stabilization Center in Bend to better address the needs of citizens in mental health crisis who have been referred to law enforcement. The Health Services Department received $1.2 million in grant funding to use for the construction of a facility, as well as operational support from the Sheriff’s Office, Central Oregon Health Council, City of Bend and others. 
  • The proposed FY 2021 budget supports 1,062 positions, an increase of 19.9 positions from FY 2020, mostly related to a Behavioral Health grant. In addition, departments will be asking for a total of 22.9 new positions (primarily in the Sheriff’s Office and Health Services) as special requests.

To view the county’s proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget, visit:

Budget hearings, which are being held at the Deschutes Services Center in Bend, will be livestreamed online at

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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