I hope this email finds you well. These are challenging times for all of us. Please stay positive and look out for your neighbors, friends and family during this COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to the day when we can see each other in person!
Today, I wanted to cover two items including measures to help our residents and businesses during this very difficult time, and a status on the proposed FY21 city budget.
How are we helping residents and businesses?
1. Tax Payment Extensions:
A. Meal Taxes, Admissions Taxes, Occupancy Taxes and Transient Occupancy Taxes: If these taxes are due in April, May or June 2020 – Norfolk City Treasurer will NOT assess a late fee penalty and interest for 60 days. Continue to file these taxes as you normally would, even if payment is not possible for 60 days.
B. Business Personal Property, Personal Property and Real Estate Taxes: These bills are due June 5, 2020, but taxpayers have until August 1, 2020 to pay in full without accruing penalty and interest. Taxpayers have the option to make partial payments by mailing a check to the address on the bill.
C. Online Convenience Fees Waived Until June 30, 2020: A taxpayer can make payments online without an additional charge for credit cards or e-check payments.
2. Additional Resources for Businesses: The Norfolk Economic Development Department has a dedicated webpage at: https://norfolkdevelopment.com/covid-19-updates-for-norfolk-businesses/
where you will find additional resources:
A. COVID-19 Business Recovery Teams and Recovery Programs
B. Norfolk Business Assistance Programs
C. Federal Business Assistance Programs
FY 2021 Proposed Budget
City Administration had been preparing the FY21 budget for months. The proposed budget was ready to go and then COVID-19 came along and changed the economic landscape beyond measure. The massive job loss and layoffs, loss of tax revenue, especially sales, meals, hotel, bed and admission taxes along with major shutdown of various economic sectors has significantly impacted the city financials. As a result, last week City Manager Chip Filer proposed a modified budget that in essence is a zero-based budget. We need to now fill a $40M gap.
The General Fund Budget is projected to be $875M based on the projected revenue shortfall. City Manager recommends a semiannual budget appropriation. We would adjust the revenue projections based on collections July – October and then review in November after which we discuss a supplemental appropriation for the second half of the year. From July 1 – December the city would continue to operate core services but some facilities would stay closed that are currently closed due to COVID-19. January 2021 – June 2021 would see the potential for allowing for more services based on the revenues we see coming to the city.
I appreciate this careful, thoughtful and transparent approach so as to be fiscally responsible moving forward. City Council discusses the budget Tuesday, May 5. Virtual Public Hearings follow in the coming weeks. City Council votes on the budget on May 19.
I wish you the best in the days and weeks ahead. I welcome your feedback and thoughts. Please stay safe, stay well, stay distant but stay digitally connected!