Gunnison adjusts budget to compensate for
15% reduction in revenues due to COVID-19
By Robert Stevens
GUNNISON—At first glance, Gunnison’s new budget hasn’t changed much from last year, but after drilling down into details, the impact of COVID-19 becomes evident.
The city council met on Wednesday, June 15 to pass the new FY 2021 budget, which begins July 1, 2020, and to adopt the final 2019-20 budget from the year before, which ended June 30.
The 2020-2021 budget comes in at $3.04 million, about $60,000 under last year’s budget, which was $3.1 million.
Some significant changes from last year include planning for an approximately 15 percent reduction in tax revenues due to COVID-19. This reduction is spread across sales tax, the .25 percent local-option sales tax for roads, the RAP (recreation-arts-parks) tax, local transportation taxes and Class C roads revenue.
Gunnison Mayor Lori Nay said the decrease in revenues isn’t a tax reduction for residents, but instead a projection of estimated revenue loss during the public health crisis.
“It’s been rough, and these are projections, but the state has said to expect a loss of revenue during the COVID crisis,” Nay said. “Depending on how much your city depends on sales tax, it could be anywhere from 10-40 percent. Compared to some places, like Moab and Park City, who are down 30 percent, we don’t have it as bad. But any projects we wanted to do that aren’t entirely grant-driven will likely hit the back burner this year.”
The projected reduction in city revenue amounts to $47,500, most of which comes from a projected reduction in sales tax revenue.
Another significant change to the new budget comes in new grant monies and outside contributions, including $108,000 from UDOT for sidewalk improvements, $500,000 for airport improvements, $300,000 towards ball field improvements and a $34,875 grant to purchase and lease the G-Hill.
There are a number of items where funds from last year’s budget are being carried over into the new one. Foremost is $340,000 from the city’s Class C Road funds. Another $25,000 is being carried over from economic development since it was not spent last year, with $5,000 of that planned to go toward ball field upgrades. Another $15,000 in carry-over funds will be used towards the purchase of the G-Hill property, while $5,000 is going to a new city welcome sign.
Gunnison City brings in surplus revenue from utilities, and a transfer of $279,280 was made from the sewer fund to the general fund.
A dramatic reduction in expenditures related to the parks and cemetery is planned as well. This year, the city plans for spending $185,050, a big drop from last year’s $271,300.
Costs for the city justice court have been lowered in the new budget, coming in at $48,500, a $13,000 drop from last year.
In recreation, the budget jumped $300,000 with the increase due to ballpark upgrades.