Bend’s mayor, Sally Russell, city manager Eric King, and city councilor Chris Piper held a virtual meeting on May 21st to inform the neighborhood associations about the City’s response to COVID-19 and its plans for reopening.
Among the items currently being implemented or receiving serious consideration are the following:
There has been some reduced access to City services as 60% of employees are working from home. Some will begin moving back to their offices and providing in-person service as safety allows. In the interim, they are trying alternative methods, such as virtual support for permits and using drones for remote inspections.
The City is expecting reduced revenue from numerous sources, including room taxes and gas taxes. All departments are being asked to propose plans to reduce expenditures by 5% and 10%. They are looking at increased efficiencies, delaying travel and training, decreasing the use of consultants, freezing vacancies, not hiring temps or seasonal employees, and delaying some projects — all while trying to have the least negative impact on services.
To support neighborhoods, the City will maintain funding for neighborhood association communications. They plan to be flexible with the requirement that neighborhood associations hold a general meeting every 18 months (keeping safety in mind). And, they plan to continue to maintain communication with the NAs using new virtual methods.