Truckee approves short-term operating plan
Truckee is budgeting for the short term amid the outbreak of COVID-19, approving an operating plan for July through September.
At its virtual meeting in the final week of May, the Truckee Town Council moved forward with the three-month plan and limited capital budget, which will allow staff more time to fully asses the economic climate before preparing an annual budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
“With so much uncertainty, there is not sufficient data to project the Town’s revenues over the next year or the five-year horizon with any sort of accuracy,” Town Manager Jeff Loux said in a letter to the Council.
Truckee’s tax auditors have indicated that the town will lose nearly $400,000 in sales tax revenue for the final quarter of the year, which ends June 30. The loss represents roughly 9% of annual sales tax revenue. Additionally, town staff indicated another $900,000 could be lost in sales tax from California’s two tax deferral programs, if businesses end up defaulting.
Transient occupancy tax was down 13% for the third quarter, and due to the ban on short-term rentals, the town doesn’t expect any collections in the fourth quarter. Truckee is expecting to lose $1.5 million in transient occupancy tax revenue from March through September.
Property tax revenues are the largest source for the town’s general fund. The town, according to staff, likely won’t see any impacts to its budget regarding property tax revenue until the 2021-22 fiscal year due to assessments already having been completed.
“Without a better understanding of how long the stay-at-home order and the state’s ban on leisure travel will last, it is difficult to accurately predict the future impacts to these sources,” added Loux. “Based on the ultimate effects on these and, most importantly, property tax and other revenue sources, we anticipate that the town may need to make significant changes to ongoing operating expenses and to delay or cancel planned capital projects.”
Basic town services will continue to be provided, two of the town’s vacant positions will remain unfilled under the three-month plan, and no funding will be available for conference-related travel.
As part of a limited capital budget, projects were evaluated based on criteria including whether a grant source would otherwise be lost, and if funds couldn’t be used elsewhere.
Work on projects that will take place during the summer months includes a new storage and garage building at the public service center, Coldstream Road/Donner Creek crossing structure replacement, property acquisition for an easement for projects on West River Street, start-up of planned housing programs, and funding for preliminary design and planning for several projects. There is roughly $10.3 million in capital funding allocated for projects as part of the limited capital budget.
Projects that were placed on hold under the short-term budget include Donner Lake/Donner Pass Road parking improvement project, Jibboom Street sidewalk feasibility study, and the Tahoe Donner drainage maintenance project.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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