Salida’s budget outlook
The City of Salida’s annual budget aligns with the goals set by Council and provides a funding plan for City services. The budget not only serves as a financial roadmap, but also as an accountability tool.
The budget reflects City Council’s objectives to continue to provide high-quality services to the community and be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. City Council and staff have already begun budget discussions for 2021 to continue to move the City forward in a positive direction, despite challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fiscal impact of COVID-19
In recent months, our City has not been immune to the global impact of COVID-19. However, Salida has not been hit as hard financially as some.
“The City has maintained strong cash reserves for the last several years, at the same time as enjoying steady growth in revenues,” City Treasurer Merrell Bergin said. “Municipal governments seek to balance the safety of taxpayer dollars with resident’s expanding needs for services and the City of Salida is no different.”
The City Finance Committee (Administrator, Finance Director, Treasurer and three Council members) meets monthly to review fiscal policies, budget versus actual revenue and expense trends. “With these best practices, we were in a solid position to ride out the pandemic’s unknowns and at the same time be nimble while providing a constant level of services. We continue to be on solid footing”, Bergin added.
Sales tax revenue accounts for 55% of the Governmental Funds budget and is a major funding source for the City. Despite the pandemic, staff is pleased that sales tax numbers remain strong. The City has consistently seen an increase in monthly sales tax revenue over the same period in 2019:
- April 2020: 14% increase in revenue over last year
- May 2020: 12.6% increase in revenue over last year
- June 2020: 8.7% increase in revenue over last year
“Sales taxes from local retailers account for the majority of Salida’s tax revenue. In addition, online sellers shipping goods to Salida are a growing source of tax revenue, all of which benefits Salida residents. Buying in local shops (as opposed to shopping out of the County) has helped keep stores open and well stocked, locals employed as well as providing revenue needed to pay for City services”, noted Finance Director Aimee Tihonovich.
Due to our strong financial health and significant reserves, the City has the financial confidence needed to not overreact to the implications of COVID-19. The City believes it is essential to continue moving important projects forward and keep City staff employed and productive. Priority projects planned for 2021 include:
- Sidewalk and curb rehabilitation
- Street reconstruction
- Highway 50 streetscape improvements
- Water and wastewater infrastructure improvements
- Skatepark construction
- SteamPlant upgrades
- Outdoor soaking pools
Revenue losses due to COVID-19
Recreation and event fees have been the hardest hit revenue sources and we expect to see these reductions continue into 2021. Overall, the City is projecting a 3% decline in recurring revenue sources like these for our Governmental Funds. To account for this loss in revenue, the City plans to budget conservatively, delay any significant new projects and utilize reserves to get through this period.
Public budget presentations
The budget process takes several months and occurs during public meetings when residents are encouraged to attend. Follow along, ask questions and provide feedback at any of our upcoming budget work sessions on Sept. 14, Oct. 5 or Oct. 19. Or, attend a public budget hearing on Oct. 20. All meetings will take place at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Touber Building, 448 E. First Street. All meetings will be live-streamed and archived online at cityofsalida.com.