Chapter 3.123 Portland Utility Board

- Note

(Chapter replaced by Ordinance No. 187174, effective July 31, 2015.)

3.123.010 Created - Purpose.

A Portland Utility Board is hereby created.  The Board’s purpose is to advise the City Council, on behalf of and for the benefit of the citizens of Portland, on the financial plans, capital improvements, annual budget development and rate setting for the City’s water, sewer, stormwater, and watershed services.  The Board will advise Council on the establishment of fair and equitable rates, consistent with balancing the goals of customer needs, legal mandates, existing public policies, such as protecting water quality and improving watershed health, operational requirements, and the long-term financial stability and viability of the utilities.

3.123.020 Scope.

A.  The Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services use multi-year financial planning to prioritize programs and to project operating and capital costs associated with policies and programs, and to estimate overall rate impacts.  The Board will fully participate in the bureaus’ financial planning and budgeting processes.  The Board will work with the bureaus to develop long-term, 20-year mission plans.  The bureaus update their financial plans throughout the year to reflect significant changes in revenues or requirements, and revise the plans annually.  The Board will review the proposed financial plans and revisions, and submit its findings and recommendations to the Council as part of the City's annual financial planning process.  The Board will actively monitor bureau spending through the fiscal year and be briefed on final fiscal year accounting including status of debt load and rate stabilization funds.  The Board will monitor bureau and City Council responses to and implementation of audits, in consultation with the Commissioner(s)-in-Charge.  The Board will monitor City Council budget amendments, capital improvement plans (CIP) and implementing actions throughout the fiscal year.  The Board will participate in evaluating the performance of the bureaus.  The bureaus will engage with the Board throughout the fiscal year when developing budgets.  The Board may serve, at the Mayor’s pleasure, as an advisor in the development of Mayor’s budgets for the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services.


B.  The Board will periodically consult the bureaus and the Commissioner(s)in-Charge on strategic communications, public education and involvement, as well as review audits and other reports.  The Board will identify and report to the Commissioner(s)-in-Charge, the Mayor or the Council on important issues and challenges for the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services.  The Board will monitor the bureaus’ efforts to achieve equity in the provision of services throughout the City.


C.  Participate in the rate design process: The Board will report on proposed rate changes to the Council during the annual budget hearings and development processes for water, sanitary sewer, watershed health, and stormwater.  The Board shall report on other city activities or proposed policies with significant impacts to water, sanitary sewer, and stormwater rates.


D.  When the bureaus form other advisory groups on utility matters such as facility or project specific concerns, the Board and its staff will exchange information with these other advisory groups to coordinate policy advice to the Council and the bureaus.


E.  Relationship to other interested parties: The Board’s primary responsibility and duties are to advise the Council, and its deliberations and recommendations shall be directed to Council accordingly.  The Board may also share the results of its deliberations and recommendations delivered to Council with interested individuals and groups including neighborhoods, business associations, and public interest groups.

3.123.030 Membership.

The Board shall have nine permanent members.  Board members shall be appointed by the Mayor in consultation with the Commissioner(s)-in-Charge of the bureaus, and confirmed by the Council.  Any Council member may submit nominations to the Commissioner(s)-in-Charge.  In consultation with the Commissioner(s)-in-Charge, the Mayor shall appoint the Chair of the Board.  Five members shall constitute a quorum of the Board.  Board members serve without compensation, except they may receive from their employer their regular salary during time spent on Board matters.

3.123.040 Appointments - Composition.

A.  General Criteria.  All members must reside in or work predominantly in the city of Portland and have an interest in water, sewer, stormwater, and watershed health issues, such as system development and maintenance, service delivery, service costs and impacts on low-income households, economic development, public health, conservation, green infrastructure or the environment.  In making Board appointments, the Mayor and Council shall strive to have a Board which reflects the diversity of the Portland community, including, but not limited to, the following factors: areas of expertise, advocacy, experience, community involvement, profession, education and/or, economic status.  Preferred appointees should have a range of qualified professional and academic expertise, and community volunteer experience.  Appointees will include a current employee in a represented bargaining unit with the Portland Water Bureau or the Bureau of Environmental Services.  Skills that will serve the Board well include: technical knowledge of water, stormwater, and sewer utility operation and issues, accounting, civil engineering, conservation, environmental sciences, equity, health sciences, public administration, urban planning, or utility economics, financial and capital improvement analysis, ecosystem science, environmental protection, political process, group process, and communications.


B.  Restrictions.  No individual with any direct financial interest in either city utility other than as a rate-paying customer or as an employee of the utility bureaus.


C.  The Mayor shall, in consultation with the Commissioner(s)-in-Charge, appoint three non-voting, ex officio members annually, to engage utility bureau employees in the budget process.  The ex officio members shall be one represented and two non-represented utility bureau employees, appointed to participate in the process of developing recommendations on the bureaus’ annual budgets.  The voting and ex officio members shall be evenly distributed between the utility bureaus.  The term of ex officio members shall end when the bureaus’ proposed budget is approved by City Council.  Ex officio members may be re-appointed up to three times.

3.123.050 Terms.

A.  Board members will be appointed to serve for a term of 3 years.  The terms of each member shall run from the date of the City Council's confirmation of the member's appointment, or such other date as the Council may establish.


B.  The Board may make recommendations to the Mayor regarding the reappointment of existing members.  Notwithstanding the limitations of this Section, a Board member may continue to serve until his or her replacement is appointed.


C.  If any member of the Board is absent more than three regularly scheduled meetings of the Board during any 12 month period, without having notified the Chair in advance of such absence, such member shall be deemed to have resigned from the Board.  The member's position shall thereafter be vacant and subject to appointment by the Mayor.


D.  The Mayor may remove any member of the Board at his or her discretion for due cause, including but not limited to malfeasance or neglect of duties.

3.123.060 Standing Committees.

A.  The Board may at any time establish standing committees of at least three individuals to address specific issues related to the Board’s purpose.


B.  The Board may designate more specific roles and responsibilities for any standing committee in the Board by-laws.

3.123.070 Staffing.

A.  The City Budget Office will provide staffing for the Board, with logistical and topic-related support from the Portland Water Bureau, the Bureau of Environmental Services, and other bureaus or agencies as may be needed.  Staffing should be experienced and skilled in financial analysis, utilities, and government operations within the context of environmental stewardship.


B.  Commissioner(s)-in-Charge liaisons to the two utility bureaus shall serve as a resource to the Board and attend its meetings.

3.123.080 Meeting Schedule.

The Board shall meet at least once monthly on a regular date established by the Board.  Additional meetings may also be scheduled during annual budget and rate review periods as determined by the Board Chair.  The Board Chair, with assistance from the Board’s staff, will develop meeting agendas in consultation with others including Board members, the utility bureaus, and the Commissioner(s)-in-Charge.

3.123.090 By-Laws.

A.  The Board shall adopt by-laws to govern its procedures within the purposes of this Chapter that shall not conflict with any portion of this Chapter and which are subject to the prior review and approval of the Mayor, with approval as to legal sufficiency by the City Attorney.  These by-laws shall include specifications concerning selection and tenure of standing committee chairs, division of responsibilities, attendance policies, meeting schedules, as well as communications between the Board and City agencies, the media and the general public, and any other appropriate matters.  As an initial action, the PUB will establish operating procedures that define expectations for member participation and roles and address transparency in its deliberations, public information and participation, and equity.


B.  The by-laws shall specify procedures for public testimony, including opportunities for public comments at each Board meeting.

3.123.100 Annual Report and Work Session.

A.  Annually, the Board shall prepare and submit to the Council a report summarizing the work performed by the Board during the previous year.  The Board shall submit the annual report within the first 3 months following the beginning of each fiscal year for the utility bureaus.  The annual report shall include, but need not be limited to, a summary of issues reviewed and analyzed; a list of briefings and reports received from staff, outside experts and other informed parties; a summary of recommendations forwarded to the Council; and a summary of Council action on the recommendations.


B.  The Board’s report will be presented to the Council in a work session.  In addition, the Board will present a work plan outline for the next year and seek input from the Council on potential next steps.