Multiple city departments in Round Rock could find some extra wiggle room in their budgets in the middle of this fiscal year, thanks to sales tax and a strong local economy.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Round Rock had to reduce available funds to departments such as parks and recreation, police, and transportation in anticipation of low sales tax revenue and other pandemic-related funding issues.

City Council will consider May 27 an amendment to restore funds to budgets of city departments that had their budgets cut for fiscal year 2020-21. This amendment includes $871,000 in sales tax and $5.3 million in general fund monies.

“In fiscal year 2020, we did the two things you need to do: Cut your operating costs, and reserve your cash,” Chief Financial Officer Susan Morgan said. “We did that again for [2021]—cut our operating costs and reserved our cash. The economy’s now strong, we’re wide open, so we need to adjust our department budgets and let them run at full speed."

At City Council’s May 25 meeting, Susan Morgan said the 2020-21 operating budget had been reduced by $5.4 million.

“Because we’re so sales-tax heavy, we do work hard to be conservative so when things do fluctuate we never come into the mid-year having to make a lot of hard cuts with COVID and furloughs and things like that,” Susan Morgan said. “It’s kind of like commission, we do have to make sure we stay a little conservative because it can fluctuate. Things are outside of our control on the economy, rule changes, all those kinds of things, and that’s how we try to make sure that we stay stable and prosperous and not subject to sudden shifts.”

While the $871,000 in additional sales tax is an increase to the FY 2020-21 budget, City Council will consider restoring $5.3 million to next year’s budget, Mayor Craig Morgan said. The city will transfer that amount from the general fund to the general self finance construction fund for one-time projects that had been delayed over the course of the year due to the pandemic.

“This is a restoration through our general fund, which is composed of our property tax and our sales tax, so ongoing expenses is the way you kind of look at it,” Craig Morgan said.

If City Council votes to approve this amendment, the library would receive $66,000 for budget restoration and its book mobile; parks and recreation would receive $199,000; the police department would receive $162,000; and the transportation department would receive $444,000 to restore its budget.

Notable one-time expenditures, which would be funded by the $5.3 million, includes $2 million for the city’s Kinningham House project, and $1,728,000 would remain in the general self finance construction fund balance.