Budget amendments approved by Council, revenues up for FY2021

JACKSON, Wyo. — A recent budget update from Town Administrator, Larry Pardee presented the Town Council with a snapshot of the town’s current budget, ahead of the upcoming budget planning sessions for the fiscal year 2022. The council voted on recommended budget amendments effective immediately.

The Town of Jackson budget is adopted by the council in July of each year, marking the beginning of the fiscal year.

During the pandemic, the town estimated a 50% reduction. “We are not collecting at the rate we were pre COVID,” said Pardee,  “but we are doing better than the anticipated year to date in the fiscal year 2021.”

Pardee shared some insights into the current fiscal year, 2021. According to the report, the town sales and use tax is leading budget projections by $6,213,575 as of Feb. 1.  Lodging tax is leading budget projections by  $499,823  as of Jan. 1.  

The report also included recommendations from the staff to base the 2022 fiscal year sales and lodging tax revenue projections on the 2020 fiscal year revenue actuals.

“June through October historically accounts for approximately 60% of the Town’s tax collections,” states the report, “staff is reluctant to budget an increase until we know summer activity has returned.”

CARES funding also played a role in the better than projected revenues. “We have applied for about 3.4 million dollars of eligible funding,” said Pardee, “We have received, 322,000 to date. We believe we are eligible for another 2.9 million of funding.” CARES act funding receipts are expected prior to the March 15th town council meeting. 

Following the presentation by Pardee, Vice Mayor Arne Jorgensen presented the recommended motion, “I move to approve the budget amendments for FY21 related to the 5th cent capital transfer, affordable housing, central equipment, health insurance, and wages as presented.” The motion carried unanimously. 

All wage adjustments for town employees were frozen effective July 1, 2020. A wage increase for town employees was originally contemplated for the fiscal year 2021 budget but was removed due to COVID. 

According to the staff report, “current revenue supports this increase and acknowledges the efforts of our staff during the COVID pandemic and working short-staffed on many teams.  Cost of living and inflation continues to outpace wages in our region. This also allows us to keep pace with the job market, recruitment, and retention.” 

The 5th cent capital fund is a policy that was set by the town. 50% of the local option sales tax revenue is used for operations and 50% is transferred into the capital project fund to be used for capital construction and replacement. 

Following the onset of the pandemic, the fiscal year 2020 capital transfer was reduced by $890,251 and funded $0 in the fiscal year 2021. $1.7 million will be transferred to the fund to get the 10-year capital improvement plan back on track.  

$1,000,000 will be transferred to the Affordable Housing Supply Plan, a 5-year plan that aims to house 65% of the local workforce within the community, concurrent with the Comprehensive Plan. According to the  2020-2025 Housing Plan, “$1,000,000 from the Town General Fund and $1,000,000 from the County General Fund for the Housing Supply Program. These funds will be used to fund the proposed Housing Supply Project and Program Portfolio.”

During the meeting, Arne Jorgensen said, “the fact we have a healthier fund balance than we anticipated, gives us the opportunity to transition to a more balanced budget and revenue process than we have had in the past. To begin to deal with some of these systemic issues that we’ve had for many years, for many decades and having this budget or this fund balance just gives us the opportunity to make those transitions a little bit more smoothly.” 

“We perceive, if the trend continues through the rest of February, March, April, May, and June, it is not out of the question that we could be plus 17 million in fund reserves,” said Pardee. 

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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