Portland’s new mayor Charlie Hales and new city commissioner Steve Novick attend their first council meeting in their new positions Wednesday. The meeting has a light agenda, after the ceremonial swearing-in of the new council members.
But returning city commissioner Nick Fish says Hales and Novick won’t have much time to settle into their new offices. He says budget cuts could come from the state and federal governments.
He explained, “Might be one of the shortest honeymoons on record. In addition, we’re not sure what’s going to happen at the state and federal level. This is going to be a very difficult year. My hope is that it’s a bridge year to a more prosperous future. But there are a lot of question marks. Our first job is to craft a responsible budget, absorbing and dealing with the 25 million dollar hole that we’ve inherited.”
Mayor Hales plans to take control of all the city bureaus while he drafts a budget. In his election campaign, Hales emphasized spending city money on core services.
Hales served about ten years on city council. Steve Novick is brand new to city council, but he has government experience in the areas of environmental protection and health care.