Revenue coming into the city of Dunwoody could see a major drop as the coronavirus outbreak continues to shutter businesses and keep residents at home, officials said Monday.
During a virtual meeting, Assistant City Manager Jay Vinicki gave the City Council a briefing on how he expects the ongoing pandemic will affect the city’s roughly $40 million budget. It provided an early look into what cities and counties across Georgia could experience as the economic impact of the pandemic comes into full view.
Vinicki said revenue from new building permits and the hotel-motel tax may see a “radical decrease.” He also said the city’s SPLOST fund, supported by sales taxes at stores, “will get hit immediately.” SPLOST funds are used to pay for local infrastructure improvements like road paving.
“As we get less money, we will do less projects,” Vinicki said.
The City Council previously ordered gyms and studios to close, and outlawed in-person dining at restaurants and bars. Monday night, the city added more industries to the list of restricted businesses. And popular Perimeter Mall decided to temporarily close its doors Monday evening.
Dunwoody has reserve funds that can support the city for about four to six months. Mayor Lynn Deutsch and the council gave the city staff permission to adjust spending to make up for some of the lost revenue. Some travel, training and maintenance has been suspended due to the coronavirus, allowing the city to save some of those funds, Vinicki said.
“Perhaps this won't be as devastating as it feels like today,” Deutsch said. “But plan (like) it will be.”
Vinicki said the city should be able to “weather the brunt of a storm” this year.
As the outbreak continues to impact local businesses, the city is considering waiving penalties and interest for occupational taxes.
“I do expect under-collections and nonpayments this year” on occupational taxes from businesses, Vinicki said. Occupational tax certificate renewals are typically due April 15.
Linda Nabers, the city’s finance director, said the city typically receives $2 million in occupational taxes each year. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Naders said she has been “inundated” with questions from businesses about whether the city will change its policies to give them some relief.
» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Georgia
Also during Monday’s meeting, the City Council unanimously approved an ordinance ordering Dunwoody businesses that offer massages, manicures or haircuts to stop offering those services. They are still allowed to sell products. Chiropractors and doctors that provide massages are exempt from the order.
Event spaces that can hold more than 10 people must also cease business.
All Dunwoody business that remain open to the public must make sure people on their property remain 6 feet apart, under the ordinance.
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