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Budgets are apples and oranges

Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan

HERMISTON, Oregon – Hermiston’s budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year totals a little less than $55 million. The budget for Pendleton is almost $86 million. Hermiston Assistant City Manager Mark Morgan says that while the cities have similarities, it’s not feasible to judge one budget by comparing it to the other.

“I would characterize the difference in budgets between Pendleton and Hermiston as really being apples and oranges,” Morgan said. “They’re both fruit, but there are different components to those fruits.”

Morgan said it’s important to consider what services each city is responsible for providing. One big difference comes with fire and ambulance services.

“The city of Hermiston doesn’t have a city fire department internal to our operation,” Morgan said. “Our fire district here operates on an entirely separate budget, an entirely separate tax rate from the city of Hermiston.”

He added that while Pendleton operates a commercial airport, the airport in Hermiston is much smaller and less expensive to operate as it deals basically with general aviation services.

Conversely, Hermiston does own its own electric utility. Morgan estimates that costs the city about $10 million a year to operate.


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