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Park City Council Agenda To Address Budget And Projected Shortfalls

Thursday, the Park City Council will be asked to authorize the revised 2020 budget which cuts $4 million in projects, in response to the COVID-19 shut down. The 2021 provisional budget will be discussed along with staff recommendation to consolidate water bonds.

Park City Manager Matt Dias says as soon as the first Summit County COVID-19 case was diagnosed in mid-March, he put in place recession measures for city operations. They were able to close the $4 million deficit for 2020.

Dias says, in their strategy, they used three guiding principles and will use those same concepts in adjusting as the realities of the COVID-19 economy surface. the overarching strategies include address the 2021 budget--fiscal responsibility, keeping core commitments and sharing the burden across the organization.

“Thereby constraining any non-essential expenditures, taking advantage of the seasonality of when this event occurred. I venture to guess we're probably 100 employees less than we would have been if this was happening in December, where we were fully staffed and meeting all of the seasonal demands.”

He says with the cancellation of large events like the Silly Market, the Tour of Utah and fourth of July parade, they have derived some savings by suspending seasonal employees.

“A provisional budget so our budget reflects currently that we will need less in public safety. We will need less in transit at least in the short-term basis, in the materials and supplies and the logistics that go along with it and that is where we have derived some of our savings.”

Dias says they are reticent to make drastic reductions in staff that would impact services. He says there is so much unknown in how and when the economy will recover. He says the city is well positioned financially and can use reserves that have been accumulated in past years during economic vitality.

“The last thing that we would want to do is unnecessarily slash library services or recreation services or public works services or public safety services and then turn around and need those in 35 days. And as an example, we did retain a lot of full-time regular employees that worked in those areas and I believe we did that successfully because we needed to this past week we were able to open the MARC and the library and the ice rink next week. We had the right people on board that had the training and the skills to do that. As an alternative if we had just kind of immediately jumped in and had a reduction in force, we wouldn't have been able to bring those facilities back on.”

Dias says with the anticipated 21 % decrease in revenues for next year, they’re pulling back and cancelling some operational expenses and they ‘ll delay or cancel capital equipment expenditures. The city’s emergency reserves will help augment some of the projected $8 million in revenue loss for next year. City Council will take public input on the budget until June 25.

The council will also consider the staff recommendation to take advantage of the low interest rates and combine two water bond issuances, which Dias says could save up to a quarter of a million dollars a year.  
The Park City Council Meeting will be available online on parkcity.org and they will take input and questions during the meeting.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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