County financial outlook improves; COVID-related deficit still expected | Local


County Administration Building STOCK

Guests depart the Cowlitz County Administration Constructing on this 2018 TDN file picture.

Cowlitz County’s monetary outlook has improved dramatically on new gross sales tax reviews, which prompted officers to cut back a projected 2020 finances deficit in half.

Nonetheless, the county nonetheless faces coronavirus-related finances troubles, officers mentioned.

The county now could be estimated to face a $2.5 million finances deficit this 12 months because of COVID-19-related income declines, nicely lower than the $4.2 million shortfall predicted final month, County Finance Director Kurt Williams instructed the county commissioners Wednesday.

Present forecasts present slight enhancements for 2021 and 2022 budgets as nicely, however the county may nonetheless face deficits of $4.Four million and $4.2 million in these years, respectively, Williams mentioned.

Gross sales tax and property tax revenues have risen, accounting for the improved outlook, Williams mentioned.

April gross sales tax income within the county was up 24% over final 12 months, whereas the state noticed a 10 to 12% lower, Williams mentioned.

Nonetheless, Williams mentioned he’s involved that gross sales tax will fall if Congress doesn’t renew a $600 add-on unemployment profit that expires on the finish of this week. Any lower in spending in August would first present up within the gross sales tax report due in October, he mentioned.

One other “shadow” over the forecast is the continued enhance in COVID-19 instances and the way lengthy it might stop the county from transferring ahead within the governor’s phased reopening plan, Williams mentioned.

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