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City Predicts $500k Shortfall Due to COVID-19

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Picture of City Hall in the spring. Photo courtesy of the City of Montpelier website.

City officials are facing a projected $500,000 budget shortfall in the final quarter of the fiscal year that ends June 30. The deficit is the result of revenue lost by closings related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City Council will meet virtually via Zoom at 6:30 pm Wednesday, April 8, to discuss cuts in the FY20 budget that were identified by city staff. In addition to spending reductions in every department, the proposed cuts include furloughs for the parking enforcement staff, voluntary furloughs for other workers, and early retirement.

Total reductions identified by city staff, including delaying some projects and purchases, total $375,000, leaving $128,000 remaining in the projected deficit. These figures do not reflect any adjustments that might be needed in the FY21 budget that begins July 1.

The revenue shortfall is based on an anticipated loss of $247,000 in general fund revenue such as the local options tax on rooms, meals, and alcohol; $203,000 in parking revenue; and $51,000 in recreation fees.

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“We will look at the proposed budget savings and we may be tasked with approving any change or modifying the proposed changes,” Mayor Anne Watson said of the City Council’s task. “And we will probably have a discussion about where the remaining $128,000 will come from and maybe another conversation about 2021.”

City Councilors will conduct business through Zoom as City Hall is closed to the public. However, residents can watch the meeting live on public access television provided by ORCA (Channel 17 on Comcast). Residents may also participate through Zoom by going to zoom.us/j/301735645 or by dialing (929) 920-6099 and enter meeting ID 301 735 645 followed by the hash or pound sign (#).