The ongoing economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are impacting municipal budgets across the United States, and Shelton is no exception. The City has seen an obvious decrease in some tax revenues due to stay home orders and closed businesses.
It is difficult to predict when economic recovery will begin, how long it will last, and how much recovery will take place. There is also little available data to base fiscal decisions on, and there’s a two month lag between actual sales and data reported to the City.
A significant portion of the City of Shelton’s overall budget is composed of the General Fund. The General Fund is used for “any good governmental purpose” and how that fund can be used is unrestricted for the most part. Generally speaking, the majority of the services people normally relate to governmental services are funded by the General Fund. Those include the Police, Municipal Court, City Council, City Manager, Human Resources, and Finance Department’s budget are all funded from the General Fund resources.
As a result of the impact of COVID-19 on City revenues, we are preparing to implement a 32- hour workweek for all non-represented, non-essential employees beginning June 15. This reduced schedule will also be in effect for our employees in several collective bargaining groups. This schedule will not affect essential employees in the Police Department, or at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The City will be making other expenditure reductions in 2020 as a result of the loss of revenue. The reduction decisions were based on the City Council’s Strategic Goals and priority services for residents. We attempted to limit any reduction in service levels as much as possible.
City employees will be returning to work at the Civic Center on June 15, after doing an excellent job working from home. Other than the Municipal Court, the Civic Center will remain closed to the public until Mason County moves into Phase III of Governor Inslee’s COVID-19 reopening plan.
To prepare for the eventual reopening of the Civic Center, the Civic Center has been professionally cleaned and disinfected. We are also installing a tempered glass barrier at our customer service counter to ensure the safety of the public and city employees.
As we receive additional economic data, we’ll adjust our reopening plans as necessary. By implementing the 32-hour week for most employees, as well as other expense reductions, we hope to avoid having to make more drastic cuts later in the year.
We will continue to provide and maintain essential services for our community. We will also continue to be available to serve Shelton residents and businesses.
“We must provide the services municipalities are required to provide and do our best to serve Shelton citizens to the best of our ability,” said City Manager Jeff Niten. “We need to make sure we maintain our services to help our community rebound from these unprecedented economic challenges and build a solid foundation that will help our citizens prosper well into the future.”
Additionally, Mayor Kevin Dorcy has decided to donate most of his salary back to the city for the remainder of the year. He will be receiving the same monthly stipend that all other Councilmembers receive: $500 per month.