Solon is making nearly $3 million in budget cuts due to the anticipated $7.1 million revenue shortfall linked to the business downturn as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
“That was the right move,” Mayor Edward H. Kraus said. “We are operating on a very lean budget for the rest of 2020” and will plan to do the same next year.
“There is not going to be this huge bump in revenue for 2021,” Mayor Kraus continued. “You can expect this operation for another year and a half.”
Earlier this year, the city estimated the revenue loss at $7.1 million and started cutting spending after the state closed and limited businesses in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Cost containment measures amounting to $2.8 million for general fund budget reductions were outlined and implemented as part of an initial phase.
The cost containment was a combination of many different things, including not replacing people who retired, reducing overtime and part-time staff and freezing the hiring of part-time or seasonal staff. Cuts to events and programming also took place, as well as deferring capital and infrastructure projects to next year or later.
“The reductions we implemented back in May is sufficient now based on the information we have,” Finance Director Matthew Rubino said. In two months, he said, he may recommend to City Council if there is a need to update mitigation numbers or cuts.
“The cuts have helped and kept us on fairly stable footing for now,” Mr. Rubino said. He would not recommend additional ones at this time, he said.
The finance director plans to watch both income tax collections and the greater regional economy moving forward.
Mayor Kraus said his continued goal is to not make cuts to full-time staff positions.
“Staff is the life blood of a community,” he said, “and they provide the essential services.
“I made a vow at the beginning of this,” Mayor Kraus said. “We will balance our budget and have to draw down on some reserves, but staff is too essential.”
Mayor Kraus said the cuts made thus far were done for the health, safety and welfare of the community. Nearly the entirety of summer programs met the chopping block, including Home Days and the July 4 fireworks display. All bicentennial programming was eliminated as well.