Fayetteville optimistic but lowers budget by $620K

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Members of the Fayetteville City Council at the July 2 included, from left, councilmen Darryl Langford, Joe Clark and Paul Oddo, Mayor Ed Johnson and councilmen Rich Hoffman and Scott Stacy. Photo/Ben Nelms.
Members of the Fayetteville City Council at the July 2 included, from left, councilmen Darryl Langford, Joe Clark and Paul Oddo, Mayor Ed Johnson and councilmen Rich Hoffman and Scott Stacy. Photo/Ben Nelms.

The first reading of the Fayetteville FY 2021 General Fund budget on July 2 showed a decrease of $620,706 in revenues. The proposed budget sits at $16.966 million, down from the current $17.587 million.

Noting the current uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic, City Manager Ray Gibson during the budget discussion said, “We still don’t know what the future holds, so we’re being very conservative with the budget.”

That said, Gibson noted that staff were able to account for the $620,706 decrease in revenue without dipping into reserves.

Local taxes, and specifically sales taxes, account for the largest drop in revenues, with the city expecting to receive $13.826 million during the coming fiscal year compared to $14.168 million this year, and representing a decrease of $342,343.

Pertaining to local taxes, property taxes account for 59 percent of revenues, or $10.033 million, while local option sales taxes account for 22 percent of revenues, or $3.794 million.

Among the adjustments being made, City Manager Ray Gibson said no jobs are planned to be cut, though a number of vacant positions will be frozen for the time being.

The biggest hit came to Public Works, which saw a $454,097 decrease due to cutting professional services and freezing two positions.

Among other reductions was a cut in judicial contract services of $23,627, defunding a vacant building inspector in Community Development for a savings of $72,395 and engineering cuts of $75,000.

“If the economy picks up, we can see about unfreezing the positions if needed,” Gibson said.

A breakdown of General Fund expenditures shows public safety, which is always the case with local government, accounting for the largest slice of the pie.

Police services accounts for 34 percent of the budget, with fire services at 27 percent, and with all other categories at 1 to 6 percent of the budget.

The second reading and budget adoption will come at the July 16 meeting.