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City budget shortfalls mostly blamed on COVID-19

City budget tops $1 billion again this year
Posted at 8:29 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 00:13:09-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — While the city's budget suffers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one budget shortfall is not connected to the novel coronavirus.

“My speculation is that we didn’t get all the checks and balances we needed to on the wastewater modeling,” said District 5 City Councilman Gil Hernandez.

Hernandez made that comment after attending a presentation by City Manager Peter Zanoni on Tuesday in which he detailed various budget shortfalls. Zanoni partially blamed the $9 million - $11 million shortfall in the wastewater department on bad modeling by a consultant.

Hernandez indicated the consultant would be replaced, and he has some ideas when it comes to covering the shortfall.

“It’s going to take some (funding) cuts," he said. "It’s going to take some financial jiujitsu, so to speak, in order to try to make sure that we minimize the effect that it has on the community.”

Other shortfalls include a $12 million - $14 million deficit for the city's General Fund because of lagging sales-tax revenue amid the pandemic.

Zanoni reported that, with the number of people taking flights greatly reduced right now, Corpus Christi International Airport is facing a $2 million - $3 million shortfall.

Restaurants being closed, or operating at low capacities, mostly are to blame for a $3 million - $7 million shortfall for the water department.

Despite all of the budget deficits, Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb is confident that the city will be able to make up for them.

“I feel comfortable based on our (reserve funds), and the management of the city manager, that we’re going to see a little blip, but it’s not going to be a sinkhole from what I can tell.”