“It’s going to be a tight year,” she said. “We don’t have to lay anybody off or eliminate positions. But there are going to be things that we had hoped we were going to do this next year that we’re not going to do.”
The county’s proposed 2021 budget assumes no new federal stimulus for local governments to offset tax revenue decreases, according to Deb Decker, the county’s interim communications director.
Sales taxes accounted for about $99.7 million in county revenue in 2019 and was estimated to bring in about $101.3 million this year before the pandemic hit. Collections dipped 13.9% and 11.1% in the first two full months of the pandemic. Although rebounding some, the county is bracing for sales taxes to fall about $5.7 million, according to Decker.
The county also expects a decrease in casino tax revenue and a lodging tax shortfall of 39% as well as a decline in investment income, however water and sewer rates will increase 5.6%, according to Decker.
Budget adjustments the county plans to make for 2021 are based on the adopted 2020 budget, rather than the budget as amended after the pandemic hit, which resulted in $29 million of downward adjustments.
While this year’s initial budget called for a 2.5% salary increase, it’s unclear how many of the county’s roughly 4,200 employees will go without a pay increase next year. Of the 1,834 positions proposed for 2021 under purview of county commissioners, 1,089 are bargaining unit employees who will receive contractual raises.
Lieberman, who was sworn in Monday as the first vice president of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, is hopeful another federal stimulus will pass Congress or CARES Act money will be extended, particularly if the county public health departments are involved in delivering a vaccine.
“I’m very optimistic there will be another round,” she said. “And I’m virtually certain that public health is going to be funded.”
Today’s 1:30 p.m. meeting will be held via Zoom and livestreamed on the county’s Facebook page, @Montgomery County.