During the COVID-19 pandemic, local authorities shuddered at the closure of businesses and the cancellation of tourism events in a state whose cities rely solely on sales taxes. However, a look back at the city’s budget reveals that Norman’s residents have found ways to spend money.
Norman’s general fund has been virtually intact since 2020, city officials told the city council’s finance committee on Thursday evening. Spending trends such as increased online shopping, economic funds and money for federal pandemic aid played a role in a stable general fund.
“We only have a good budget, which is good,” said Anthony Francisco, the city’s director of financial services. “I portray it to the ingenuity of the Revenue Projector, but luckily a more honest person would write it off because with all this COVID thing we really don’t have a lot of knowledge or information about what is going on until it happens. All of these things come out in the wash and we come out fine. “
Positive factors included a substantial excise tax payment due to the construction of an apartment complex in University North Park.
City manager Darrel Pyle said he and Francisco had made their budget projections in hopes the pandemic would end last summer and University of Oklahoma football would return.
“That was included in our sales projections, and those elements did not materialize,” said Pyle. “Other things – like the people who didn’t go on vacation and spent their vacation pay at home, like trampolines for the kids – have turned around and filled the hole that may have been created by OU’s limited audience in the stadium. The data, the differences between sales tax and online use tax, is a shocking story, but it shows that people stayed home and learned how to shop online. “
Sales tax revenue was originally estimated at $ 84,965,236, but was later adjusted to $ 85,220,444. Nine months into the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, the city has raised $ 71,820,712 since the start of the year, while spending was $ 70,909,468.
An introduction to the budget overview for fiscal year 2022 will take place on Tuesday, April 20, during the regular meeting of the council. Public hearings will be held on April 27th and May 4th, 18th and 25th. The budget is expected to be adopted by June 8th.
Mindy Wood shares town hall news and notable lawsuits for The Transcript. Reach them at [email protected] or 405-416-4420.