Proposed 2021 Budget Available & Public Hearing Set for Dec. 3

Residents will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed 2021 Budget on Thursday, December 3, 2020 at a public hearing prior to the regular City Council meeting at 7:00 p.m. (hearing starts at 6:45 p.m.). The budget is available here and at the Government and Community Centers. Click here to view the budget by section (see Budget Information)

Total revenues are projected to be $35.3 million, an increase of $1.7 million (5.2%) from the estimate for 2020. This level of increase is due to the fact that revenues were much lower in 2020 than in years past due to limited economic activity because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the City’s tax revenues depend on activity in office buildings, hotels, restaurants, youth and adult sports, concert venues and the casino. There remains much uncertainty regarding return to work and leisure so a definite economic outlook is difficult to forecast, but the City’s healthy fund balances allow the City to continue a high level of service with minimal disruption. 

The City is using 2019, the last full year experienced without the impact of COVID-19, as a base year on which 2021 forecasts are created. Gaming taxes are projected to be up $2.05 million to $8 million in 2021; this projection equates to about 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels. Utility taxes and sales taxes are projected at 90% of the 2019 actual received as the economy slowly recovers. Recreation user fees are budgeted at $1.86 million in 2021, up from $630 thousand in 2020 as community members slowly return to their “normal” level of leisure and recreation activities. Additionally, the City’s newly renovated water park, Aquaport, is expected to generate attendance and increase the total fees paid in 2021 over those paid in 2020. Intergovernmental revenues will be down due to the one-time receipt ($1.9 million) in 2020 of federal assistance for COVID-19. 

Total expenditures across all funds in 2021 will be $39.2 million, a decrease of $3.9 million from 2020. The decrease in 2021 expenditures primarily relates to a decrease of $3.5 million in the Park Fund. In 2020, the City invested $5.1 million in renovations to Aquaport, the City’s water park. Other expenditures for Parks and Recreation are elevated due to the return of services in 2021 that were impacted by the pandemic in 2020. Capital Improvement Fund expenditures are up $1 million in 2021 as the City deferred certain projects in 2020. 

General Fund expenditures are down $785 thousand (3%) in 2021 in reaction to the expected economic impacts of COVID-19. Few employee travel-related training activities are provided and capital outlay has been reduced to $118 thousand from $509 thousand in 2020. Pay for employees will be frozen at 2020 levels with no movement on the pay scare in 2021. 

At the end of 2021, the City’s Reserve Fund will be over $23 million, equal to 95% of the 2021 General Fund expenditures; the City’s goal is to maintain a level of 75%.