City closer to balanced budget proposal after latest workshop

Posted at 8:36 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 21:36:13-04

It’s not a done deal yet. However, for now, city staff has found a way to just about get rid of what was once a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

The news was shared during Thursday’s budget workshop at City Hall. It was a far cry from the workshop in March, when city council learned the city was facing a projected $20 million deficit. Interim city manager Keith Selman says that was only a worst-cased scenario.

"As time passed and as we got a better handle around our revenue streams and projected revenues, those percentages of necessary cuts was diminished," Selman explained to KRIS 6 News.

By May, the shortfall was down to $2 million. Now, the city is hoping new and and re-purposed revenue will bring the balance.

At Thursday’s workshop, staff proposed taking a portion of our property taxes that’s normally used to pay down debt and moving it over to Maintenance & Operations (M&O).

Selman said of the adjustment, "That will generate about $1.8 million and get us much closer to balancing our budget."

In addition, a one-time, $1.5 million payment from a state program will help pay for police and fire benefits. However, these revisions don’t mean that departments still won’t have to deal with some cuts.

"Our Parks and Recreation Department — they had to give up a little bit in terms of maybe not planting some trees, maybe not having as much in terms of the playground equipment. there are some of those things that will happen," Debbie Lindsey-Opel, at-large council member, said. 

"But there will not be the cuts that were so problematic and concerning."

Those included proposed cuts to libraries and closures of senior centers. They’re now off the table. 

There will also be no interruptions to academies for both the Corpus Christi Police Department and the Corpus Christi Fire Department. The proposed budget also includes no cuts to Code Enforcement or Animal Care Services.

The city’s next budget workshop will be on June 28. Selman says city staff is hoping to present a final draft of the budget to city council by late July.