City of Round Rock cuts millions from FY 2019-20 budget due to projected losses from coronavirus

The city's general fund is expected to face an $8.9 million-$10.3 million revenue deficit. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
The city's general fund is expected to face an $8.9 million-$10.3 million revenue deficit. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city's general fund is expected to face an $8.9 million-$10.3 million revenue deficit. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Round Rock trimmed millions from its fiscal year 2019-20 budget in anticipation of a significant hit to revenue due to the coronavirus.

Amid the pandemic, businesses have been forced to temporarily close or operate at reduced capacity. Travel for events has paused, and area hotels are vacant. As such, sales tax, hotel occupancy tax and other revenue are expected to take a significant hit by the end of FY 2019-20, said Susan Morgan, the city’s chief financial officer.

Morgan estimated the city’s general fund will see an $8.9 million-$10.3 million revenue deficit. She stressed that the numbers are still preliminary at this time.

With many local businesses shuttered or operating in a reduced capacity, Morgan estimates sales tax revenue will drop by $5 million-$6 million for the remainder of FY 2019-20. The projected impact to sales tax is equivalent to a 27% annual decline.

From March through June is historically the peak season for tourism in Round Rock. But this year, four hotels with a total of 608 rooms are currently closed. The ones that remain open are reporting occupancy rates less than half of normal, Morgan said.


The city’s tourism funds, which are used to pay for the city’s sports tourism and arts and culture efforts, could come up short by $3.4 million-$4 million by the end of FY 2019-20, Morgan said.

Per the city’s budget contingency plan, Morgan outlined steps to reduce expenditures to help offset projected losses.

General fund reductions include a $4.3 million cut to neighborhood street maintenance, a $1 million reduction across department operations and $1.3 million in savings by instituting a hiring freeze for 30 of 38 vacant positions.

With these types of reductions, Morgan said, the city would be able to balance its general fund budget without having to consider last-resort measures of laying off staff or dipping into the city’s reserve funds.

Another cost-saving measure Morgan proposed to City Council is placing a few capital projects on hold. Proposals include those projects that have not yet begun, such as Behrens Ranch Park. However, Morgan said she is not proposing a delay on bond-funded projects, such as the library or the trails or transportation improvement projects in the city’s five-year plan.


MOST RECENT

The city of Round Rock's sales tax figures decreased by 1.46% in May 2020 as compared to May 2019. (Courtesy city of Round Rock)
DATA: Pflugerville, Hutto see double-digit sales tax boast in May; Round Rock experiences minor dip

Pflugerville and Hutto's May sales tax revenue totals jumped by 17.56% and 36%, respectively, as compared to May 2019 figures.

In compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott's July 2 executive order, the University Interscholastic League is requiring the use of facial coverings when practical to do so for all summer activity participants, among other guidelines. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
UIL releases guidelines for conducting summer activities during COVID-19 pandemic

The University Interscholastic League released udpated guidelines for schools conducting summer activities such as sports training and marching band practices on July 8.

Williamson County reports 124 additional coronavirus cases and two deaths on July 8. (Screenshot Courtesy Williamson County)
Williamson County reports 124 additional coronavirus cases, 2 deaths July 8

Currently, 109 patients are hospitalized, and 32 are in intensive care, per the report.

The closure, scheduled to run from 9 p.m. July 10 through 5 a.m. July 13, will allow crews to install overhead toll equipment. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Southbound SH 130 main lanes will temporarily close July 10-13 at Cameron Road in Pflugerville

The closure, scheduled to run from 9 p.m. July 10 through 5 a.m. July 13, will allow crews to install overhead toll equipment.

An orange virus graphic that reads "Today's coronavirus data updates"
Travis County reports 753 new coronavirus cases July 8

The Austin MSA is still hovering near Stage 5 risk with 67 new hospital admissions in the past day.

Census worker
2020 census: Bureau prepares nonresponse follow-up field operations

For individuals who have not responded to the 2020 census, one of about 500,000 census takers will visit the their household between Aug. 11-Oct. 31.

Emler Swim School operates 28 year-round locations in Texas and Kansas. (Courtesy Emler Swim School)
Emler Swim School now offering interactive lessons online

Families can choose to receive training via weekly video calls or through instructional videos online.

Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority, said in a July 8 news conference that officials are "desperately trying to avoid" both overcrowding hospitals and shutting down the economy with another shelter-in-place order. (Courtesy ATXN)
If new shelter-in-place orders are needed in Austin, local officials hope to have 'productive dialogue' with Gov. Abbott

With area ICU beds at 85% capacity, officials are preparing the Austin Convention Center to accept hospital patients and are calling on health professionals from around the country to assist in Texas.

Williamson County confirmed cases of coronavirus rose July 7. (Screenshot courtesy Williamson County)
167 additional coronavirus cases, 1 death confirmed in Williamson County on July 7

Currently, 112 patients are hospitalized, and 33 are in intensive care, per the report.

Stage 5 is not triggered by an exact number but could be triggered anywhere above 70 hospitalizations per day over the past seven days, depending on the recent rate of the increase. (Courtesy Travis County)
With 74.8 new hospitalizations per day over past week, Travis County could move into coronavirus risk Stage 5

Under Stage 5, Austin Public Health could suggest only essential businesses remain open.

A screen capture of a virtual meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court, feauring Gerald Daugherty and Sam Biscooe sitting in the courtroom
UPDATE: Travis County postpones public discussion on Tesla economic incentives until July 14

County commissioners will continue discussions on Tesla with economic development staff at their next regular voting session.