Fresno is California’s fifth-largest city. With a population of 531,576 people, Fresno is known for its agribusiness hub with everything from production to processing. On June 25, 2020, the City Council of Fresno plans to hold their regular meeting, discussing the city’s budget. Because of Covid-19, there is limited seating for the public, but questions, comments, concerns can be answered through following this link and following the reading within the first three pages.
As of May 27, 2020, Mayor Lee Brand of Fresno submitted a memo to city council addressing his concerns over the FY 2021 budget. These concerns come after the impacts of Covid-19, as Mayor Brand says “This fiscal year will be like none other in the City of Fresno’s history.” Within the memo, Mayor Brand addresses how the shut down of the city’s local economy has put Fresno finances in a challenging position, which has impacted the entire city’s operational funds. This includes the General Fund, the Enterprise Fund, tax-driven capital funds, and Internal Service Funds. Because of Covid-19, these funds have had unexpected expenditures, leaving them unable to fund original projects.
Currently, the City of Fresno is unaware of the amount of revenue lost, as it is too hard to tell. To assist businesses who are struggling with the effect of Covid-19, Governor Newsom of California has allowed for a three-month delay in reporting sales tax for the first quarter of 2020. Although this is helpful for business owners, sales tax makes up 27% of the General Fund and with a delay like this, it is impossible to estimate revenues around which a budget can be built.
Because of the lack of ability to estimate revenues lost, Mayor Brand has made the decision to submit to the Council a continuing resolution (CR) for FY 2021. In short, this will continue FY 2020 Amended appropriations into FY 2021. According to Mayor Brand, this will allow Fresno to provide services to the community and pay employees until fiscal loss can be identified. Mayor Brand is hopeful that in September/October of 2020 Council will return with revisions to the budget in regards to actual revenue receipts. June 25th’s meeting will determine if the council rejects or accepts Mayor Brand’s request for a CR. The decision must be made by June 30, 2020.
You can learn more about the meeting agenda here.