While still early in the process of formalizing 2020-21 budgets, county and city officials said the COVID-19 pandemic has already impacted the local economy and they expect to see continued effects in the coming fiscal years.
Wendy Tyler, county administrative officer, said county revenues are currently at 85 percent of budgeted projections.
“In a normal year the 85 percent would not cause me concern, that said, this is anything but a normal year,” said Tyler.
While Tyler said the county is not yet sure how the fourth quarter budget, which runs April through June, will look, she did say that the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program, or Senate Bill 1, payment they received in May was only about half of what they would normally receive.
According to Tyler, it is too early in the 2020-21 fiscal year budget process to identify any major funding cuts that may happen but she did note that there have already been several reductions in state funding.
“My hope is that, at a minimum, the Senate version of the 2020-21 budget which proposes to reverse the ‘trigger’ on the cuts as proposed by the Governor, is adopted,” said Tyler.
Tyler said moving forward it is important to think long term when formalizing fiscal year budgets.
“The upcoming year is not the only one in which we will face fiscal uncertainty,” said Tyler.
City officials echoed Tyler’s concerns, saying they have already noticed economic losses, although not immediate, for not only this year but the coming years as well.
“Because revenues come in five to seven months after the end of a quarter, it is difficult to know exactly what the effects of COVID-19 will have on our budget,” said Frank Kennedy, Williams city administrator.
After their last meeting on May 20, Kennedy said the Williams City Council anticipates being down $240,000 in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year and $800,000 in next fiscal year.
According to Kennedy, the city of Williams has already implemented a hiring freeze due to the pandemic, with three job vacancies remaining unfilled at this time.
Kennedy said the city also had to lay off three employees, one full time position and two part time positions.
In addition to scaling back employees, the city of Williams also postponed scheduled renovations for the public pool and made the decision to not operate the facility this summer.
Kennedy said the city was in line to get state grant funding for a water and a sewer project before the pandemic hit but
“We have not been notified that they are in jeopardy yet,” said Kennedy.
Colusa City Manager Jesse Cain said information about the city’s budget would not be ready in time for publication as officials are scheduled to meet July 7 for a budget workshop, but city officials estimate that they will be out about $240,000 due to the pandemic.