During the meeting of Mansfield City Council’s Finance Committee on Thursday night, held virtually and broadcast on its Facebook Page, consideration of important pieces of legislation in turn resulted in important discussions about the city’s financial condition.
In response to a question posted by Councilwoman Jean Taddie about whether the purchase of two new police vehicles could be delayed, City Finance Director Linn Steward said that serious conversations are underway in the Administration that have centered on “serious concerns” about the budget.
Numbers currently available, Steward added, suggest a projected 20% drop in total income for the City of Mansfield for some period of time. She added that it is really quite early to tell exactly what will happen to revenue, but it is likely that both the use of the budget stabilization fund and cuts will be required in the coming weeks and months.
The City’s financial condition came up again during the consideration of four pieces of legislation which would authorize the purchase of equipment for the Fire Department. Both Steward and Committee Chair Jon Van Harlingen repeated the thought that with such uncertainty in the air, more information should be considered before there is any use of the City’s slightly over $1 million in unappropriated funds. The Finance Director noted that a more complete picture of finances should be available by May 15.
Normally, Steward shared, the City looks at maintaining a $1.5 million balance in unappropriated funds, which itself is not sizable for a $100 million annual budget.
The Committee chose to table the four Fire Department-related ordinances to consider funding one or more out of other existing funds with balances, a move that would require the drafting of additional legislation. The two police cruiser measures were passed on to full Council, where they were both approved.
In its meeting, Council also approved the much debated CDBG Block Fund change by a 5-3 vote.