Riverside facing financial difficulties as revenues decrease

Riverside is facing a huge shortfall in its budget next year. FILE
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Riverside is facing a huge shortfall in its budget next year. FILE

Riverside is facing a $2 million to $3 million shortfall in the next three years in its city budget and city leaders may soon have to make tough decisions on how to increase revenue or expense cuts.

“Just the basic operations are going to need more revenue,” Mark Carpenter, Riverside city manager, said a recent work session with city council.

In 2021, revenue for the city is projected to be $10,889,144 versus expenses of $12,075,202, according to Carpenter.

According to Carpenter’s presentation, the amount of revenue the city took in between June and October was above the city’s original expectations. The city took in about $1,138,802 in revenue monthly in that time frame. The original goal was $1,047,268, Carpenter said.

But Carpenter told council the year’s total revenue is down when adding in pre-June numbers.

Riverside’s reserve funds are also decreasing and that shortfall is expected to increase in coming years if tax revenues don’t increase.

“Even without COVID, the city is going to be running short on revenue moving forward,” Carpenter said. “So then 2023, that’s when the hammer drops.”

Carpenter asked council to set the city budget through March of 2021, and possibly reevaluate the budget after that.

“The impact of COVID could be even greater still,” he said, given the rate of unemployment in the Dayton region.

Some council members suggested increasing the city’s income tax for employees who work in the city in the future, but noted that the budget would still have to be cut. Suggestions included taking the tax credit for residents who work outside of the city to zero, and beyond that, cuts would likely be made in multiple different departments.

Riverside City Council will discuss the budget again at its work session in December.