COVID is forecast to continue causing unemployment, home-bound education, and health impacts. How could this impact City budgets?

The City is experiencing revenue losses for our recreational facilities, charges for services, and licenses and fees. The City did receive Federal CARES funding, which has limited uses, cannot be used for revenue losses and will only be available through November 15, 2020. We are also projecting higher than usual property tax payment delays. The City’s tax levy accounts for the majority of the City’s revenues at approximately 62 percent. 

There are many other non-budgetary impacts that are changing how we are able to operate.

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1. COVID is forecast to continue causing unemployment, home-bound education, and health impacts. How could this impact City budgets?
2. Why can't Hopkins pick a group of peer cities with similar population numbers, demographics and tax capacity to benchmark itself against?
3. How are budgets for the largest department, the Police Department, set? Are there opportunities for citizen input?
4. Have any employees been furloughed, or have any employees been asked to furlough hours?
5. Where can the city budget be cut?
6. I would like more information on the amount of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and its duration.
7. Given the difficult times, why the large increase in equipment spending?
8. Are we ready for the light rail to come to town?
9. Have you talked with neighboring communities about additional partnerships to find efficiencies? Beyond recreation?
10. The City seems to have a binary way of looking at the budget - either increase taxes or reduce services. I ask that staff work to reduce expenses/seek new revenues so that our taxes can remain flat.
11. Why doesn't the City focus on paying off the debt rather than increasing taxes and spending more?
12. Why are you not asking departments for cut scenarios? 5%, 10%, 15%?
13. Again, given the difficult times residents are experiencing, are you planning wage/salary increases for employees? Where is that information found?
14. Have you frozen hiring for 2021?
15. You stated that approximately 70% of City employees are represented by a union, what about the other 30%?
16. Can you elaborate on the increases to Public Safety?
17. Why didn't you include alternative scenarios so residents could react if you already had it? Seems like the discussion would be more informed if they had the full details.
18. Will you be posting the comments people made with the survey?
19. Have you offered up voluntary budgetary leave to employees?
20. Will this budget allow the City to keep up with the services and maintenance that residents expect?
21. The survey was pre-pandemic, correct?
22. What street projects are coming up?
23. Are there any new positions in the budget?