Local residents shouldn’t have to worry about an increase in taxes in the new upcoming fiscal year.
A special meeting of the Greenville city council was called by Mayor Errick Simmons to discuss budget proposals for fiscal year 2020-21.
The mayor and council came to a general consensus that there will be no increase in taxes, nor capital expenditures in FY 2020-21, unless in the case of an emergency.
A great deal of consideration was given in regards to the Mid Delta Regional Airport budget and that of Parks and Recreation.
Mayor Simmons said during a July 23 special session he and the council would need to look at the two operations similarly because both budgets are primarily funded by gaming revenues.
However, like many of the city’s entities, gaming included, the revenue of the airport and parks and recreation has been significantly curtailed by the residual impact of COVID-19.
There is currently $975,000 in gaming revenues, which is subsidized every year for allocation to the airport and Parks and Recreation.
A general consensus was made to allocate $760,000 to the airport and $300,000 (100,000 of which will come from city funds) to parks and recreation to balance its budget, provided it makes the necessary cuts due to the prohibiting of large gatherings and recreation centers and the like being closed.
External financial consultant Steve Osso highlighted the exhaustion of the airport’s $18,000 line-item budget for maintenance and repairs in just six months, as well as other line-items.
For the upcoming fiscal year, airport director Sam Washington is requesting a line-item of $35,000 for maintenance and repairs.
Osso said the amount is not unreasonable, but it is a matter of determining what repairs are the most crucial, which he could not speak to.
“For this fiscal year right now, the airport has $110,000 worth of insurance it’s getting charged for because of all the flights we added,” Osso said.
Compared to last year, the airport budget will increase by $67,000.
Osso and members of the council all noted and complimented the efforts of city departments to implement cost saving measures.
At a regular meeting in June, the council voted unanimously to add estimated budget cuts of various departments to its furloughs and cost saving measures order.
“All supervisors and department heads are trying to aim to save the taxpayers’ money that we don’t have given this pandemic,” Simmons said, noting departments’ effort to make up for the estimated $2.2 million in lost revenue.
After two months of implementing those cost saving measures, Simmons said all of the departments have done well.
Although parks and recreation has not operated at full capacity since March, the golf course has yielded more revenue this year than it has in nearly five years Simmons highlighted.
The council also proposed reductions in the city’s general fund as well its own budget, in addition to the consensus on the airport and parks and recreation budget, taxes and capital expenditures.