FLINT, MI — Flint City Council members discussed the city’s finances as it relates to COVID-19 and its challenges at the council’s regular meeting this week.
Flint City Council President Monica Galloway requested an update on the city’s financial health in regard to the impact of coronavirus, status on collection rate for water bills, receivables, and the status of the city on property tax collection for the first quarter of this fiscal year.
“We haven’t had an update on finances since we’ve been in COVID, and I know that Councilwoman (Kate) Fields has some questions on some other things, but mine specifically are to address where we are on receivables after being in COVID for at least 6 months,” said Galloway.
Eric Scorsone, Mayor Sheldon Neeley’s financial advisor, said overall the city’s finances are “doing as well as we could expect,” he said.
“We’re doing as well as what we could expect – on target and relative to budget at the moment,” Scorsone said. “This is very early in the fiscal year.”
The Flint City Council approved a $72.9 million budget for its fiscal year 2021 in June.
Related: Flint City Council approves 2021 budget, funds ombudsperson’s office
About 44 percent, or $32 million, of the budget will be used to fund Flint’s legacy costs, which are retiree pensions and healthcare. The city’s reserve fund is expected to drop from $24 million to $6.3 million by the end of the next fiscal year, according to previous MLive reports.
Flint’s 2020 fiscal year ended on June 30 and the 2021 fiscal year began on July 1, according to Galloway.
In April, Neeley was concerned about the revenues for the city decreasing because of the pandemic. It’s uncertain how the pandemic is going to impact the city’s budget process, Neeley said.
Scorsone addressed several figures and explained most of the receivables were on track for the year.
The city has an 80 percent collection rate for water and sewer, according to Scorsone. He described the rate as “pretty good” considering the challenges of a global health pandemic.
He also stated the city is on target to collect its normal amount of property taxes and income taxes for the year.
“We have collected about $2.9 million, which is about what we would expect in the fiscal year,” Scorsone said of income taxes.
Galloway wanted Scorsone to confirm that finances were on track, despite the challenges that might come with COVID-19.
“So with all of the challenges that our community has had with employment, even through all of that, we are on target based on what the projections were?” Galloway asked.
“Yeah. We’ll have a better, formal report for you, like mid-October,” Scorsone said. “I will say one caveat to that income tax, one potential issue we might face next year is when they collect income tax, residents might argue they don’t owe the tax or will owe less because they worked from home.”
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