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October 14, 2020 - 10:37am

Revenue picture a little brighter for city seven months into pandemic

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.
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When the coronavirus pandemic first hit Genesee County, the revenue outlook for the City of Batavia was pretty bleak -- a projected $2.4 million in losses because of an anticipated 30-percent decrease in economic activity.

As it turns out, sales tax revenue in the county is down only 4 percent, Interim City Manager Rachel Tabelski informed the City Council on Tuesday night.

The city also received an 80-percent payment from the state for video lottery terminal (VTL) revenue from Batavia Downs.

Better news but not necessarily good news. There's still a shortage in revenue of $793,000.

"While we still have many freezes and cuts to the departments, we are weathering the storm well of comfort," Tabelski said.

City department managers continue to work to control costs, making cuts in purchasing in vehicles, equipment and supplies, deferring what they can, and some departments are still under a hiring freeze. Those cost-saving measures are projected to save $611,000.

Whether those cuts are for the long term is yet to be seen.

"That's definitely hard to predict," Tabelski said. "We have rising contractual costs of employees coming into next year's budget and we still have New York State's 2 percent property tax cap that we try to look at and maintain, and stay within if we possibly can. The hope is that as we get closer and closer to the next quarter of sales tax collection, we'll have a better revenue picture and we'll be able to tell if we have a better budget outlook to present to Council in January."

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