The Scottsdale City Council is running out of time to address the severe economic impact we are witnessing now in our city revenues.
Each day we do not recognize and act on the dramatic drop in sales tax revenues, the budget hole for the city’s next fiscal year just gets deeper.
I am increasingly uncomfortable and alarmed with the lack of movement from city leadership on appropriately projecting significantly reduced revenues and developing a realistic budget that recognizes the unique and devastating effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on the residents and businesses in Scottsdale and on our city’s financial health. Our city has been hit hard by the pandemic.
This week the City Council held its second discussion on a 2020-2021 fiscal year budget that begins on July 1; revenues are now projected by city management to decline about $25 million or around 7% from the previously projected $338 million revenue figure in the General Fund. Or, compared to this fiscal year’s adopted budget, revenues are projected to be down only $13 million or 4% less.
The council must adopt a tentative fiscal year budget in about two weeks.
Final budget adoption will be on June 16.
This most recent budget plan from city management projects what is referred to as a V-shaped recovery, where as soon as the city reopens, business will bounce back.
As presented to the council, the budget optimistically reflects that the present economic woes and rapidly declining revenues will immediately begin to improve in the first half of the next fiscal year — starting July 1. After that, it’s back to “normal” or business as usual.
The notion that Scottsdale will regain its financial footing in a short period of time is absurd, and I hope my council colleagues will see as I do, that we must prepare for a long recovery over at least a year or more.