Bay Village officials have prepared for the short-term effects of the virus by cutting 33 part-time employees, including crossing guards and van drivers for senior transportation. The move is expected to save the city $6,900 every week. The city has also decided not to hire 12 summer seasonal employees, which over the course of three months will save about $60,000.
While these moves answer short term concerns for the city, it’s unclear how this will affect its budget for next year Mayor Paul Koomar said.
“We put our budgets together later in the year in fall,” he said. “So while we are bracing ourselves, for the future, we don’t know how this is going to hurt us.”
Bay Village is expected to lose an estimated $600,000 in income tax revenue based on an estimate given to the city by the Regional Income Tax Agency. Other factors, such as how much the city will receive from the gas tax, are unclear, Koomar said.
Despite this, the city plans to continue its infrastructure projects including an estimated $1.15 million in road work projects such as the 2020 paving program and work in the Sunset neighborhood near Lake Erie.
However, Financial Director Renee Mahoney is prepared to postpone some capital projects to save the city money if need be, she said.
The city is also looking into its eligibility to receive money from the CARES act, which was passed by Congress last month. And the city has been putting money into an emergency reserve for six years. It has put $2 million into the fund during that period.
Despite these changes, Koomar believes that the city’s service in helping its residents has not been affected.
“We will continue operations during the COVID-19 crisis and all of our departments that are able to be open will remain open,” Koomar said. “We’re continuing to move forward.”
The financial director provided these answers to a questionnaire West Life News sent last week:
Is your community considering any personnel furloughs or layoffs? We have laid off 33 part-time employees and have put a hiring freeze on any non-safety related employment.
Do you have a hiring freeze in place? Yes.
Will summer recreation/pool help be hired this year? We will await further guidance from the governor on when an opening of the pool and the start of summer programs will start. We have started the process of hiring the summer staff in preparation for that if or when that will happen.
Are you cutting or terminating any programs? Which ones? For what duration? We have stopped all programming from recreation and community services until the governor gives guidance on allowing those to resume.
Have you gone forward or halted infrastructure or building projects? Please elaborate. We have continued with any projects that are in process. We will discern the projects for 2021 based on the receipts in 2020. We will start the budget process this fall and by then we should have a good idea of the impact of this pandemic on our revenues.
How much was the community's income tax revenue down in March 2020 compared to March 2019? (number and percentage, please) March did not see a significant change from 2019. The change in unemployment and delay in filing dates won't be apparent until the May receipts.
Have other revenue streams been impacted? Which ones? Ex mayor's court, traffic citations, recreation fees, pool passes, facility rental? What is the anticipated aggregate amount of this revenue loss for 2020? It is too early to see any changes from revenues. I imagine the gas tax will be impacted due to the decrease in travel, but that won't be apparent until the May receipts.
What other adjustments or cuts to the budget will be made other than personnel, services and infrastructure? We will continue to monitor the receipts through the summer to see if any further measures will need to be taken.