The Burbank City Council discussed the City’s fiscal year 2020-21 Proposed Budget and the magnitude of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City’s finances along with the General Fund. The following information was supplied by the City of Burbank’s staff.
While the budget was first discussed in November of 2019, the COVID-19 Pandamanic has caused everything to turn in different ways. The closure of non-essential businesses has had a substantial impact on revenue from General Consumer Goods although Burbank does have a number of retailers that have been deemed essential and have remained open during the stay-at-home order.
Restaurant sales will have declined, with most open for takeout only and some closed entirely. Business sales tax will experience declines from reduced activity although stores like Costco will have increased sales to help make up the gap. Fuel sales will also decrease combined with a drop in fuel prices as well as a sharp decline in jet fuel sales from the Hollywood Burbank Airport.
Burbank Water and Power has experienced a 20 percent decrease in demand for electricity, predominantly due to a decline in business activity during the stay-at-home order.
City facilities are currently closed to the public, with a large portion of the City’s services are not being utilized, specifically within Park & Recreation facilities and counter services offered by Community Development and Public Works such as building permits.
Finally, with the City of Burbank suspending parking citations for street sweeping and other related residential parking restrictions for the duration of the stay-at-home order, parking citations comprise the majority of this revenue category, City staff is estimating an 80% decline in the final quarter of FY 2019-20. A dollar amount was not given.
The City is predicting a $14,700,000 loss to the City from the Pandemic although that number is subject to change due to the length of the event. The loss could be as high as $15 to $29 million in the coming budget.
The proposed budget for the coming year will remain about the same as last year and will not increase, except for ongoing items that may have raised in price.
One of the things that may offset this deficit is the current legislation being considered by the Federal Government in the new HEROS Act, which may give funding to cities over 50,000 in population grant money to help make up for losses. This money has not been factored in since it still not been passed by Congress and no amount has been discussed yet.
In the meantime, the City has implemented a hiring freeze except for services such as police and fire recruiting and any city department that feels they have an essential job that must be provided. The City currently has about 1,500 employees.
On a positive note, Burbank will keep its sewer rate at $25.66 per month with no rate increase, one of the lowest rates compared to other cities and about half of what residents in the City of Los Angeles pay.
The entire proposed City Budget comes in at $ 669,722,110.