Despite a pandemic that has put a significant hit on revenues, Goodyear is moving forward with a budget that represents a 15% increase over the current city budget.
City representatives say residential and commercial growth is more than making up for a loss in sales-tax revenue caused by COVID-19.
At a May 4 study session on the proposed budget, Goodyear Finance Manager Lauri Wingenroth said cancellation of Spring Training resulted in the city losing $900,000 in direct revenues from ticket sales.
The COVID-19 revenue hit to Goodyear did not stop there.
Wingenroth said the areas most impacted by the results of the response to the pandemic were sales tax revenues—which were expected to fuel half of the city’s general fund.
At the same May 4 meeting, City Manager Julie Arendall unveiled a proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Goodyear City Council is scheduled to vote on the budget at its June 8 and June 22 meetings.
“The fiscal year 2021 all fund budget totals $589.9 million. This represents an increase of $75.6 million from the prior year,” Arendall told Goodyear City Council.
Goodyear’s budget for the current year ending June 30 includes $161 million for the general fund. Five years ago, the general fund budget was $108 million.
Arendall said next year’s general fund budget will be $180 million. That includes $27 million for the Goodyear Police Department and $22 million for the Goodyear Fire Department.
“The recommended budget includes for represented sworn police and fire employees a 2.5% market adjustment, and for those not at the top of their pay range, a 5% step increase as provided in tentative collective bargaining proposals,” Arendall said.
“Costs to open the new recreation campus projects, to meet existing obligations including proposed labor agreements and to make a one-time payment to non-represented employees, are included in this proposed budget,” Arendall said.
Despite the pandemic’s economic impact around the world, Arendall was confident Goodyear would continue on strong footing.
“The proposed budget has sufficient capacity to use higher revenues from development activity above the base budget to continue funding or add positions as we evaluate and experience the actual impacts of COVID-19 on development activity,” she said.
Despite expected “sharp declines in local sales taxes,” revenues are expected to grow.
The reason: residential and commercial building.
Arendall said construction sales tax collections are more than double last year and non-construction sales taxes are up 18% over the same months in the prior year.
“These strong revenues in excess of the budgeted level in the first eight months of the year are expected to sustain the city’s general fund budget for the balance of fiscal year 2020,” Arendall wrote in a lengthy report.
“Even with the significant projected revenue reductions, our year-end general fund revenue estimates are still slightly above the budgeted level.”
She said her proposed budget adds 26 full-time equivalent positions, bringing the total of full-time Goodyear workers to 707.
And the city plans to move ahead with major capital improvements “because it means spending in the community, which is good for Goodyear’s economy,” Wingenroth said.
Projects include a recreation campus, two fire stations, Civic Square at Estrella Falls, and a water-improvement project.