Community Safety Revenue Team Recommendation

After approving one-time, 18-month bridge funding to support Community Safety, City Council also gave direction to immediately begin work on long‐term funding strategies to address critical community safety needs. 

Community Safety Revenue Team

A Community Safety Revenue Team was formed to develop a recommendation for the City Manager. 

The team was responsible for identifying, evaluating and developing revenue funding strategies to support the needs of the Community Safety System.  

"Eugeneans care deeply about community safety. Without additional funding, it will be virtually impossible to maintain or enhance the community safety services presently provided through the City."

-City Manager Jon Ruiz

New Revenue Source Parameters

The Revenue Team was provided the following parameters for the new revenue source(s) it considered as part of its work:

  • Provide significant new revenue of approximately $20 million on an ongoing basis
  • Likely to be accepted by the community
  • Must be implemented by July 1, 2020

The Revenue Team met four times to conduct its deliberations.

Community Safety Revenue Team Recommendation

The Community Safety Revenue Team recommends implementing a payroll tax to provide funding to support $22 million in community safety services on an annual basis with an option to be phased in over a six year time frame.

Hybrid Approach to Payroll Tax

A payroll tax is levied as a percent of gross payroll earned within the taxing jurisdiction. Entities can enact a payroll tax on employees and/or on employers and if enacted on both groups the tax would be treated as two separate payroll taxes. The Revenue Team recommends developing a “hybrid” approach of a tax on both employees and employers which could either be a flat percentage for both taxes or structured at different tiers for each tax to achieve the desired revenue yield.

The Revenue Team recognizes that this doesn’t impact every segment of the population as this tax would not capture revenue from visitors, potentially city residents employed elsewhere (based upon structure), retirees and the unemployed, however, the Revenue Team generally thought that this approach was the clearest and most fair of the final options considered.

  1. Message from City Manager
  2. Revenue Team Members

From Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz

The Community Safety Revenue Team’s recommendation is to provide sustainable, reliable and fair funding through a modest Council-implemented employer and employee payroll tax.

The Problem

The community believes the problem is significant and urgent, as expressed in their response to Gary Manross’ Summer 2018 survey, a subsequent online survey of over 2,400 people, and at dozens of presentations by Eugene Police Chief Skinner and Eugene Springfield Fire Chief Zaludek. 

In the Manross survey, respondents’ top three priorities for spending tax dollars were:

  1. Addressing homelessness
  2. Increasing the number of sworn police officers
  3. Enhancing police services

If we do nothing different, we will fail to meet community safety needs for hundreds of our friends, family members, and neighbors. Response times will continue to increase, more calls will go unanswered or not responded to, fewer people in the community justice system will have opportunities to stabilize their life, and overall system capacity will continue to diminish.

The Approach

The approach we are using to solve this problem is reasonable, sensible and responsible. We address the problem as a system, using an evidence-based approach with a focus on what works. We incorporate 21st Century Policing philosophies and principles, and best practices from other jurisdictions across the country. Input from key stakeholders and the broader community has been paramount. The components of Community Safety (Police, fire, 911, municipal court, homelessness, and related social services) are intertwined and must be viewed together. Adding capacity to one component must account for the subsequently increased needs in the other components. 

We know that taxes of any kind impact families, but investment in the community safety system comes with a cost. Knowing this, we have listened to the community through surveys, meetings, conversations, committees and one-on-one discussions. We worked hard to maximize the use of existing resources and only included items that address the problems. 

We also know that the impact of doing nothing, and failing to address the ongoing resource limitations of our community safety system will have an increasingly negative effect on the community and those we serve. The community safety needs are urgent, and working with the community, we are finding ways to support our shared safety values.