The city of Grandview Heights is bracing for a reduction in income-tax revenue as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus' effects on businesses, but the full impact won't be known for awhile.
City officials presented an update on the virus' potential effects on Grandview at the April 6 council meeting.
"It's critically important that we maintain the capacity to operate, and that's what we have been focusing on for the last (several) weeks. We knew this was coming," Mayor Greta Kearns said.
The city's stay-at-home order was extended April 6, and the current conditions resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak "will probably be with us for a while," she said.
The city's department heads were asked to prepare plans for scaling down operations and preserving resources, Kearns said.
"Now we're looking even deeper into that going forward," she said.
Nonessential programs and activities have been suspended, and city facilities are closed to the public, Kearns said. Parks are open, but playgrounds are closed.
The city began an adjusted schedule April 6 for collecting recycling and yard waste on alternating weeks, she said.
No city department operates as an island, Kearns said. Instead they are all connected.
"All department heads are looking at how we can make adjustments to expenditures that were planned this year," she said.
The approach will be to prioritize the projects the city needs to accomplish this year versus what could be deferred or scaled down in scope, Kearns said.
"We hope to come back (in May to council) with a very concrete and well-thought-out plan on what we're proposing to do and what we're already doing to preserve our very precious resources," she said.
All aspects of the city's budget -- the general fund, capital improvements, the street program -- are intertwined, said Bob Dvoraczky, director of operations/chief of staff.
Although no one can predict the course of the coronavirus crisis, "I think we will be OK," in part because the city adopted a cash-reserve policy in 2016, he said.
The policy mandates each year's budget appropriations be adjusted to maintain a cash balance in the general fund equal to at least 105 days or 28% of operating expenditures. It also includes a financial-action plan that presents the measures the city will take "if we're not at a break-even point" or if a financial shortfall is prolonged, Dvoraczky said.
The financial-action plan would be implemented in stages, with various steps taken as the general-fund reserve drops below the thresholds of 28%, 20% or 15%.
It likely will be at least two more months before the city will be able to measure the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on city finances, including income- and property-tax revenue, finance director Megan Miller said.
As the first quarter of the year ended, Grandview was "right where we expected to be," she said.
During the early part of April, the city was receiving a record amount of income-tax revenue, Miller said.
"We are still in the pre-COVID days," in terms of tax collection, she said. "It will take a couple months to really get a good idea of what it's going to look like. We're fortunate that a lot of the big employers in the city are still paying all of their employees. We haven't seen any major layoffs."
Income-tax revenue will be dropping, however, and the finance department will work with the administration and department heads to determine "what we need to cut or scale back," she said.