Monroe eyes $2.75M in possible cuts as coronavirus cuts revenues

Monroe City Council will be looking closely at its budget and possible cuts needed because of the coronavirus slowdown.

City officials have identified up to $2.75 million that could be cut from the budget, and it could also cut the capital improvement budget of $351,000.

City Manager William Brock recently presented these options for consideration by Monroe City Council. Income tax revenues won’t be received until mid-July.

Brock told council at its May 12 meeting that a hiring freeze has been implemented and travel and training expenses have been limited. He has limited spending to essential purchases, reduced building operating hours, reviewed this year’s capital improvement projects and deferred or canceled projects.

He is looking at possible employee furloughs and suspensions to all increases to employee salaries and wages. Other budget reductions could come from infrastructure, recreation, parks and paving being deferred or cuts.

Brock said he would be presenting council with proposed budget reductions of 5% or nearly $735,000 at its May 26 meeting. He also recommended council meeting monthly to review the city budget starting in July to determine additional budget adjustments or cuts. In addition, he said the city could increase its revenues by more than $155,000 a year by adding a $5 local tax on license plates to the current $5 tax on vehicles owned by city residents.

Restroom for Monroe Crossings

The city will purchase a pre-constructed restroom from CXT Concrete Buildings for the Monroe Crossings Park for $175,700. Officials said this was an alternative to constructing a building that had been bid twice and came in over budget both times.

The city had $330,000 budgeted for the project. The preconstructed building comes with a men’s and women’s restroom facility, each with two toilets and a sink, and storage area.

Refunds for canceled events

The city will make full refunds on deposits and fees for canceled reservations in using park shelter and the James Monroe Community Room at the Monroe City Building as well as during exigent circumstances. The council also approved an emergency resolution to pay $3,784 to Drypatrol LLC for the emergency cleaning and disinfecting of the city building.

School resource officers

The city council heard a first reading on a resolution to amend the city’s contract with the Monroe Local School District for school resource officers and waive payments for SROs during periods of time when the services are not utilized.

The school district did not use the SRO since the state closed all schools due to the pandemic. The school district will be reimbursed $29,629 for SRO services not rendered. The city assigned the SROs to road patrol. Council is expected to approve the resolution at its May 26 meeting.

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