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Building a budget during a pandemic

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GALENA–Soon after Galena City Administrator Mark Moran handed city council members and the mayor the proposed $11.13 million city budget for 2020-21, the coronavirus pandemic swung into full force.

Now, Moran, like other local government officials, is in holding pattern as he waits to see the extent of the economic devastation from this crisis.

City officials have decided to hold off the previously planned budget work sessions scheduled for April and will instead review the budget during the regular council meetings, Mondays, April 13 and 27. The budget needs to be approved by May 1.

The original proposal presented a surplus of $20,370, and Moran expected the city to end the year with a strong fund balance of $4.99 million.

Moran already has a pretty good idea of how the budget will change: the city will be very careful about expenditures as there will inevitably be lower revenues. The focus will remain on the city’s long-term sustainability.

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Moran feels confident the city will make it through this time. These budget adjustments will be something facing all municipalities, he said.

“It’s just going to be different for a while and we’ll put some things off we would have liked to get done,” he said.

In general, the city will look to maintenance instead of new. Moran has already talked to Mayor Terry Renner about suspending all projects and major purchases indefinitely.

Moran said several of the city’s upcoming projects–the canoe and kayak park, downtown sidewalks and the east side water project–are grant funded, and some of those grants involve reimbursements from the state, so city officials will need to make sure that money is in place before moving forward with any projects.

The one project Moran expects to move forward is the addition of parking stalls at Rec Park. Work on that project has already started, and the city has already received $27,555 of the $50,000 grant.

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