COVID-19 isn’t just weakening the city’s residents; the city pocketbook also is getting slammed. But one of the departments hardest hit by budget concerns has nothing to do with novel coronavirus fallout.
The city’s wastewater department is taking a significant financial hit, and City Manager Peter Zanoni said at Tuesday’s Corpus Christi City Council meeting that the $9 (million) to $11 million loss is because of faulty business models put into practice by a former city consultant within the department. He also attributed the problem to poor communication with staff on the part of former Asst. City Manager Mark Van Vleck.
COVID-19 has caused disarray in the city's finances, though.
Zanoni said the city’s general fund is facing shortfalls of anywhere from $14 million to $20 million. because of sales tax revenue deficits.
The city received a $5 million check to account for taxes in March, but the amount has ranged from $5.3 million to $5.6 million for March over the last two years.
Other departments feeling the fiscal sting are:
- Corpus Christi International Airport will see a $2 million to $3 million shortfall which could be helped by grants.
- Development Services will take a $100K - $500K hit because of a drop in permits.
- Water may be short anywhere from $3 million to $7 million because of drops in commercial use (restaurants and other businesses) due to stay-at-home orders.
- Visit Corpus Christi, the convention and visitor’s bureau, also reports only 50 percent hotel occupancy rates, which is a significant drop, due to COVID-19. Zanoni said the city hopes to those numbers will be back to normal by August.