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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
City Manager Jason Gage hosted the first in a series of budget workshops Tuesday. Gage and Finance Director David Holtmann first presented an overview of the remaining financial picture for the City’s current 2021 fiscal year, which runs through June 30.
A Stay-At-Home order enacted March 24-May 3, 2020 required many of Springfield’s businesses to close down and residents to only engage in essential activities in the community’s fight to suppress the spread of the coronavirus. Gage implemented many cost-saving measures in the spring of 2020 to reduce expenses for the remainder of the current fiscal year in anticipation of a projected decrease in sales tax revenues. Over one-third of the entire City budget is dependent on sales tax. FY2020 general fund revenues ended 3% below budget.
“While our sales tax growth over the last year is very strong compared to budget, the budget projection was for sales tax to decline by 6%. When we compare against the 2019-2020 actual sales tax collected, this year’s sales tax revenue is estimated to grow roughly 2.5%,” Gage said. This is comparable to previous, non-pandemic years.
The largest individual segment of the City’s operations is supported by the General Fund, (approximately $89.1 million), which covers most police and fire operations, public works, planning and development, building development services, and all administrative support services. These activities are funded by four major General Fund revenue sources: sales and use tax, payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs), other taxes, and licenses and fines. The General Fund is the primary focus of the City’s annual budget process because it funds many of the high-profile citizen services (e.g., those listed above) and is the revenue source that provides the most flexibility in use by City Council.
The dire revenue situation forecasted for communities following the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in furloughs and layoffs for many municipal governments. However, the City of Springfield committed to avoid those measures and did not furlough or layoff a single employee.
“My first priority in developing the FY22 budget relates to preserving employee jobs and addressing employee recruitment and retention. Employee recruitment and retention is the foundation for implementing City Council’s priorities of public safety, economic vitality, and fiscal sustainability,” said Gage.
As much as possible, the budget attempts to address funding needs within all areas of the organization. A total of $6.5 million in budget requests were submitted by the City departments, including a total of $3.3 million for ongoing costs. In all, Gage’s proposed budget has only been able to fund approximately $2.7 million to fund ongoing costs and one-time requests.
The annual budget is a plan – a financial proposal that directs the provision of public services and facilities. The services provided by a public organization are based on the available revenues (funds) from all sources as approved in its annual budget.
The City’s budget process is led by the City Manager, who is required by the City Charter, to present a proposed balanced budget to City Council by May 1. The series of budget workshops allow City Council time to review and discuss the City Manager’s proposed budget and to approve the budget before the new fiscal year begins on July 1 each year.
The following general principles have been followed in the financial management of the City and in the development of the annual budget. These policies have been developed to guide the City in delivering a consistent level of service, while maintaining a stable financial position and equitable tax structure.
The FY2022 proposed budget attempts to address funding needs within all areas of the organization. However, consistently over the past eight years, law enforcement and public safety have been the clear funding priority.
Throughout the budget workshop process (May 1-June 30), the public has access to the proposed budget and the later adopted budget online at Springfieldmo.gov/Budget and at Springfieldmo.gov/OpenData (the City’s data portal). On both of these web pages, there are links to full line-item detail reports in addition to helpful summaries. Printed copies of the proposed budget are available at the cost of printing.
The City Council lunch workshops are open to the public, broadcast live on CityView’s channels on Mediacom and U-Verse. They are live streamed from the CityofSGF Facebook site and on springfieldmo.gov.
For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, at 417-380-3352 or [email protected].
FY2021-2022 Budget Workshop 1 Presentation
FY2021-2022 Budget Letter
FY2021-2022 Proposed Budget
FY2021-2022 Proposed Budget Line Item Detail