Subject to finalization of the annual audit, city officials announced the 2020 general fund deficit was $938,816, directly related to the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Mayor Rob Rolison said strong fiscal measures were taken early enough in the course of the pandemic to avoid more significant hardship.
“Our team took quick action to cut the city’s expenses, anticipating a sharp drop in revenue, and that allowed us to maintain government services and avoid the types of staffing cuts that other communities were forced to make.”
Early during the health emergency, the City had projected a multi-million dollar shortfall; however, a number of measures were taken throughout 2020 that reduced the gap, such as the deferral of projects and major purchases, the implementation of a hiring freeze and cuts made by all city departments midway through the year.
City Finance Commissioner Brian Martinez said, “Revenue shortfalls across all departments exceeded $3 million, and while we cut more than $2 million from our spending plan mid-way through the year, there was no definitive help from Washington until January of 2021.”
City Officials also announced receipt of the first installment of American Rescue Plan funds, approximately $10 million. American Rescue Plan funds include a “revenue replacement” component that will offset lost revenues attributable to the pandemic. Under the guidance received thus far from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, remaining ARP funding can only be used for eligible expenses and must be utilized by the end of 2023.
City departments are already working on the 2022 budget, which will be submitted to the Common Council for consideration on October 15th. Preliminary estimates reveal a gap of up to $4 million in the city’s general fund next year.
Mayor Rolison said, “We have been working to close this gap since the budget process began in June. Our commitment is to continue the forward progress, and federal assistance will be critical over the next several years”