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City hiring and programs impacted as COVID-19 takes a swing at city budget

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Posted at 10:07 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 00:45:01-04

Nationwide, city employees could be among the workers who lose their jobs in the next wave of layoffs as tax revenue that pays their salaries plunges amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In Corpus Christi, city leaders are preparing for the economic effects the coronavirus pandemic will take on their municipal employees and future city funded programs. City Manager, Peter Zanoni, says starting this week the city will begin developing its budget for 2021, but it will come with several program cutbacks.

“We may have to eliminate certain programs, we may have to scale back operations, we may put less money in areas than we hoped to do,” said Zanoni.

The city expects to lose between $14 million to $21 million in sales tax revenue in the next few months, as people continue to follow stay-at-home orders and many businesses remain closed. Those millions of dollars are what funds the local police and fire department as well as street and parks operations.

While Zanoni says ‘right now’ they are not furloughing or firing any city employees, he says the city is scouring all the books to make sure they save every dollar they can to keep it that way.

“We’re gonna slow the filling of positions, as well as things like our fuel budget for our vehicles and our electric bills are lower,” said Zanoni.

Zanoni predicts money will continue to be tight. As a result, for the new budget that is adopted on October 1st, each one of the 32 city departments will have to prioritize and decide what programs they want to fund. They’ll have to eliminate non-essential smaller projects to make sure they have enough money to do it and stay within their reduced budgets.

Zanoni has created an Executive Budget Team Each week city leaders will track the increase and decrease of tax revenue that the city is generating. What programs gets funded, what gets cut, and what jobs are kept, will be determined based on those numbers.