City ends 2020 in the dark | News, Sports, Jobs
Much has changed over the past few months when it comes to the City of Jamestown’s 2020 financial outlook.
In January, ahead of Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist’s State of the Town address, city officials were forecasting a potential deficit of $ 1.1 million in 2020. However, with the passage of the stimulus package federal, the city is now looking to end last year in the dark.
Ryan Thompson presented the unaudited 2020 year-end financial report to Jamestown City Council on Monday. He said the city finished last year with a surplus of $ 975,643. He added that the state no longer withholding state aid to municipalities after the approval of the stimulus package, which meant an additional $ 12.3 billion for the state in direct and unrestricted aid, the city will be restored.
“(The total amount of state aid) generates a large part of the surplus”, Thompson said.
Even though the city will end up in the dark in 2020, not all of the financial news was positive. Last year the city lost $ 274,096 in parking violations and revenue from parking fees and meters, Jamestown’s board revenue from PILOT utilities fell by $ 118,809, and employee salaries from PILOT police and firefighters, as a result of new deals, have increased by more than $ 1.12 million.
Thompson also presented the board with a first quarter 2021 financial report on Monday. He said BPU PILOT payments for the power and water divisions are over budget, but water, sewage and solid waste are below the financial plan. He said collectively all of the divisions put together are right in budget so far this year.
Parking violations are going over budget as the city received 41% of its budgeted revenue, Thompson said. He said the city’s ticket collection provider had started sending outstanding tickets to collections, resulting in increased payments. However, on-street parking lots and garages / parking meters are lagging behind budget. He also said the monthly parking lot revenues were not enough to cover operating costs. Overall, all three incomes are expected to be slightly below budget for the year.
Again, because the state receives billions in federal stimulus funds, the state will not withhold 20% of the city’s state aid in 2021. Thompson said that means an additional $ 1. , $ 1 million from the state.
Sales tax revenue is also on the rise for the city. Thompson said county officials informed him the city would receive an additional 4.65% in first-quarter sales tax revenue from 2020, an increase of $ 73,000.
On the expense side, Thompson said due to recent contract negotiations with the police and firefighting unions, salaries for both of these departments have increased by $ 1.23 million in the 2021 budget.
In other areas, the city and Jamestown Community College are looking to strike a shared services agreement to hire a grants writer. Sundquist said the city currently does not have a grant writer and employees in several different departments are spending time away from their main duties to write grants. He said the city doesn’t necessarily need a full-time grants writer, which is also the same position as JCC currently.
Maria Kindberg, executive director of the JCC Foundation, said the college was struggling to find a quality grant writer. She said the college’s salary range is lower than other agencies seeking grant writers.
“They always went where they were offered more money”, she said.
Sundquist said the plan would be for the college and the city to share the cost of writing the grant 50/50. In addition, the post would have an office at both the CCC and the Jamestown Municipal Building. He said the new worker would be considered a city employee, but would not be unionized. The shared services agreement would be for two years.
“It’s a wonderful way to work with the college, which has been such a strong partner in the work we do,” he said.
The board is due to vote on the proposal at its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday.