Statement about city's 2020 budget
Published on April 14, 2020
The city has been closely monitoring the budget since the first of the year because sales tax revenues can vary month to month, and that has occurred this year even before the COVID-19 outbreak. The city has a standing practice of directing departments to spend less than their budgeted amounts, and these savings help offset the fluctuations in the city’s “income” of sales tax revenues, which pay for the services for residents.
Because the sales tax receipts lag a month behind the current month, it’s not yet known how much the economic consequences of the pandemic will affect the city’s 2020 budget. Even so, the city has taken additional steps in anticipation of the sales tax revenues coming in lower than they were projected when the 2020 budget was adopted. A hiring freeze for nonessential positions has been in place since March 30. The city, however, is assessing how to manage filling positions needed seasonally to operate pools, festivals, camps and other programs scheduled for the summer.
“While our biggest concern is for the health and safety of our residents, we know that the economic effects of this emergency will be something that the city will have to manage for the coming months,” said City Manager Kathy Hodgson. “The solutions won’t necessarily be easy or quick, but we are working on this issue every day to ensure that we do all we can to continue to provide the services that residents depend on and need.”
The city’s Budget and Audit Board, which consists of residents and council members, also met virtually last week to stay updated on what the city knows so far, and the board received the same information as outlined above.
A city Economic Recovery Task Force is also launching, and it will consist of business owners and leaders from large, medium and small businesses. The task force will help shape the city’s response to business needs for short-, mid- and long-term recovery. The task force will provide potential solutions to City Council, and residents and community members will be asked to provide their ideas to the task force in an online format. Please stay tuned to the city’s website, social media, e-newsletters, and other communications channels to learn more.