Council members voted Aug. 24 to approve a budget that carries a year-over-year general fund revenue shortage of roughly $5.8 million.

The fiscal year 2020-21 budget reflects the challenges of the pandemic, Mayor Paul Voelker said post-adoption.

“The numbers are estimates,” he said. “The uncertainty that we have in the context of, ‘What does next year really look like?,’ is challenging.”

Staff is budgeting about $130.6 million in new general fund revenue, which is down from the $136.4 million estimated for fiscal year 2019-20, according to the budget. This money will be supplemented by a beginning fund balance of about $31.8 million.

The revenue loss is in part due to a dip in citywide property valuations. Instead of implementing a property tax rate increase, the city chose to cut expenses, such as compensation increases, nonessential maintenance and community events. An unchanged tax rate of $0.62516 per $100 property valuation was approved unanimously.

This year’s general fund expenditures are projected to land at about $134 million, which is down 2.3% from FY 2019-20. Despite cuts to the budget, the city is allocating $3.8 million to street maintenance, $1.5 million to alley rehabilitation, $412,580 to parks maintenance and $825,160 to economic development. It is also keeping its over 65 and disabled tax exemption at $100,000.

The city’s other operating funds are expected to vary in year-over-year performance. The hotel-motel tax fund, which is sustained through revenue from tourism and events, is projected to take the biggest hit, with an annual revenue nosedive of about 60% to $1.7 million.

The city’s water and sewer fund and solid waste fund are expected to see slight revenue bumps in the new fiscal year. Council approved an unchanged water and residential solid waste rate; however, it did slightly increase the solid waste rate and fees for businesses.

The budget and tax rate become effective Oct. 1. For the detailed budget proposal, click here.