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Park City Council Puts $250K Aside For Future Unknowns

The Park City Council approved the 2020 budget revisions last night (Thursday) in the council meeting. The provisional 2021 budget was discussed including details of the cuts planned to adjust for an $8.6 million anticipated revenue shortfall. Public input is being taken on the 2021 budget planning.

When Summit County Public Health orders closed all but essential businesses and put in place a stay at home directive, Park City Municipal went into recession mode cutting $4 million in operational expense. The revised 2020 budget, including those cuts were approved by city council in the May 14 meeting. 

The City’s fiscal year begins July 1 and with so much uncertainty in the city’s economic outlook, the Park City Council will be asked to approve a provisional budget in June, reflecting an initial $8.6 million revenue loss for 2021. Council will reconsider the provisional budget in 60 to 90 days.  Budget Manager Jed Briggs told council he took a balanced approach reducing operating expenses to match demand.

“I believe that the budget that we're presenting right now has a fairly big decrease in terms of operating budget and capital budget. It still is meeting demand related to COVID-19. If the revenues that we're projecting start dipping further or we see a very kind of anemic ski season, or something along those lines in the outlook, then that might not be the case moving forward. We were able to cut out part time and overtime in a lot of line items within our department’s budgets, where managers are still able to meet the service needs of our constituents.”

Briggs reduced expenses in four main areas including taking about $1.7 million out of the capital improvement fund.

“One of the revenue sources we are using in order to cut back capital projects was the general fund transfer, which we transfer about two to three million dollars every year from the general fund over to the capital fund.”

Park City Council Member Max Doilney says they’re deferring, delaying or cancelling all capital projects and equipment purchases for now. They implemented operational reductions across all departments. He says a hiring freeze is in place and there are 100 fewer positions this year compared to last year at this time.

“Drivers, the ice arena hasn’t been open. Recreation facilities are just opening now and that's on a smaller scale than it has in the past. A lot of our programs are shut down.  Another big, huge chunk of this is, there 130 part time police officers that we keep on to help us with events and deal with all of our summer activities. None of them are coming back right now, unless we have a major change in our event schedule.”

In their last meeting, city council members approved a donation of $150,000 to the Community Foundation to help those impacted by COVID-19 shutdown job losses. With the final weeks of the budget hearings underway, Mayor Andy Beerman asked the council to put aside an additional $250,000 anticipating that economic insecurity will continue for business, individuals, and organizations.

Briggs told council his team plans to have a final budget to the council for approval by June 18. He says the council can elect to extend public input until June 25th if needed. Public input can is scheduled for May 21st, June 11 and 18th. 

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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