City adjusts budget to combat falling revenue

Posted 5/12/20

The impact of reduced operations and closures during isolation measures to combat COVID-19 compelled the Madisonville City Council to adjust the city’s 2020 budget Monday, finding new ways to cut expenses in face of an expected drop in revenue of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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City adjusts budget to combat falling revenue

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The impact of reduced operations and closures during isolation measures to combat COVID-19 compelled the Madisonville City Council to adjust the city’s 2020 budget Monday, finding new ways to cut expenses in face of an expected drop in revenue of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Monday’s regular meeting of city council was the first that allowed physical public access since March, but that, too, was not exactly by choice.

“The internet was down all over the county,” City Manager Camilla Viator said Tuesday morning. The council had previously held meetings streamed over Facebook Live in efforts to reduce the number of people in City Hall to maintain social distancing orders. Without an Internet connection Monday, the city was unable to stream the meeting. Or get a lot done.

“We couldn’t even take credit cards for people trying to pay their utilities,” Viator said. “There was no way we could function.”

During the meeting, council members agreed to refinance certificates of obligation from 2010, taking opportunity of record-low interest rates and spreading payments across five years instead of three to cut annual expenses.

The shuttering of some businesses and slowdowns in others may lead to an estimated loss of $165,000 in sales tax this year and $500,000 in water sales that generally flow into city coffers.

“When your biggest water customers are working at reduced capacity, it’s a big hit (to city finances),” Viator said. “We’ve got no money coming through the state to help with shortfalls.

“We have to cut expenses without cutting essential services. To be conservative, this is what we need to do.”

Council members also extended the city’s local disaster declaration for 30 days, pushing the expiration date into June.

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