Local governments setting budgets amid financial uncertainty
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – City and county governments are finalizing budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. And there are a lot of questions due to the uncertainty of COVID-19.
Warren County government is seeing a major revenue loss because of empty hotels and unemployment during the pandemic.
Hotels usually generate income with a transient room tax. Every job also translates into occupational tax revenue in Bowling Green.
Officials estimate about a 25% cut in county revenue all together mostly because of the massive loss of occupational taxes.
Both Warren County and Bowling Green city governments are trying their best to avoid dipping into financial reserves or raising taxes.
“Every Warren Countian is feeling this pain right now and so is county government and that pain is that we don’t have the revenue coming in that is expected,” said Warren County Magistrate Doug Gorman.
Bowling Green City Manager Jeff Meisel is concerned about the loss of occupational tax revenue as well.
“Seventy percent of our general fund revenues are based on occupational taxes which is the withholding tax so when people aren’t working, people are laid off, we do not collect that. So, we are really struggling with the projections for the coming months and the coming fiscal year based on what’s going on with COVID-19,” said Meisel.
Cuts are likely to come in the coming months involving upgrades or replacements of vehicles and other items city-wide.
“Not totally cancelling but maybe delaying the purchase for another year or two,” Meisel said. “Just trying to get by with what we have.”
“It’s just a domino effect. It is amazing what effect this virus has had overall on everything that has happened in the world. It does effect each individual citizen and it does effect their form of government as well,” said Gorman.
The local government officials hope they can keep the financial effects from trickling down to the taxpayers.
“Our objective is to continue to provide the best services without trying to put that on the back of the taxpayers,” said Gorman.
The new Bowling Green Police Academy’s first group of hires will not be getting pushed back until spring of 2021.
NOTE: This story was corrected from an earlier version.