During Thursday’s meeting, Park City Council heard more details on cutting $8.6 million from the 2021 budget.
Park City operating budget discussions outlined specific ways they plan to respond to the loss of tax revenue. It’s a first ever provisional budget for the city which means they’ll review it again in 60 to 90 days. March numbers came in about $200,000 above the projected revenue.
The staff showed council data from a Google mobility tracking model which helps to predict tax revenues. Park City Council Member Tim Henney says the data trends from the model appear favorable.
“And it shows people’s behavior, travel behavior which is a way of giving us some good data on our assumptions regarding sales tax and where people are going and what they're doing. We could actually see people going to the grocery store and they could even break out retail store visits. Assumptions at this point are tracking pretty well. In fact, we were a little more pessimistic in some of our basic assumptions on sales tax than what this mobility tracker was indicating."
Large events have been cancelled so seasonal hiring is not anticipated. Deferral of some projects will also help make up the revenue losses. There are a couple of projects slated to continue this season.
“This big water line that’s going in along route 248 as your leaving town. You know that’s good that's happening now. The Three Kings water treatment, that's good that it's happening now, just because you know, there's less activity on the roads in general and less congestion. So, we are benefiting in some respects. We have some plans this summer for some improvements on lower Park Ave and turning the corner on 248 on Kearns that could benefit as well.”
Henney says operational cuts of about $5.5 million will come from a reduction in transit service. He says they’re still able to meet the baseline service needs.
“And we are thinking that during the summer we will simply go back to our offseason level of service and all of that, you know, costs less and requires fewer drivers. Part of it is less service at the county so they get charged less. Part of it is less revenue coming in and a lot of it is just less need for service.”
The city will continue to take input on the provisional budget. Budget Manager Jed Briggs plans to have the final budget to council by June 18 with the caveat that it will be revisited later this summer for possible adjustments due to COVID-19 impacts.