The city of Dunwoody is set to receive $5.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, but still plans to cut 4% from its current budget because of the pandemic.
The city is set to vote on a $1 million decrease in the city’s general fund expenditures at the next council meeting on Aug. 24. City Finance Director Linda Nabers presented the proposed budget cuts at the Aug. 10 council meeting. The budget for the general fund was originally $25.6 million, according to the city’s 2020 budget, which matches the calendar year.
About $5.6 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding was set to be approved during the Aug. 10 meeting. But Mayor Lynn Deutsch said legal delays with an intergovernmental agreement between the city and DeKalb County required it to be deferred to a called meeting later.
The departments already factored the money city expects to receive from the CARES Act when creating the budget cuts, Nabers said. Those funds will go toward public health, payroll, medical, economic support and contingency expenses, according to a memo.
All departments would have a decrease in their expenditures except for Information Technology, which would increase expenditures by $131,000. Funds in that department would go mostly toward supplies, repairs and maintenance and education and training, according to a breakdown of the budget adjustment provided by the city.
“The departments have gone through their expenses that have already been appropriated, and because of the COVID we’ve been trying to reduce our expenses,” Nabers told the council.
The Parks and Recreation Department is taking the biggest hit in budgeted expenditures at $325,000, according to the breakdown of the budget cuts.
Nabers said the city moved funding for Peachtree Charter Middle School lighting from the general fund to the hotel-motel fund, which caused part of the cut in expenditures for the parks and recreation department. She said a parks maintenance contract was also re-bid and ended up being less than the city budgeted.
CARES Act funds do not replace other city revenue streams and must comply with the federal guidelines for where the money can be spent, which mostly has to do with COVID-19 relief efforts. DeKalb County received $32.6 million in CARES Act funds to distribute to its cities, according to a memo about the CARES Act funds.
The city plans to use $1 million of its CARES Act funds for economic grant relief programs, according to a city presentation.
About $633,000 is set for facility cleaning, ventilation upgrades and personal protective equipment; about $500,000 is set for hazard pay and COVID-related expenses; about 616,000 is set for vulnerable population grants such as food and daily cost assistance; and about $2.85 million is set for contingency.
The council was set to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the county for the funds, but Deutsch said the item needs to be deferred because of legal problems with the agreement.
“We were originally working as one municipal group, but now we’re just going to get ours done,” Deutsch said.
Jay Vinicki, the assistant city manager, said the city and county are working out administrative and legal issues with the agreement, but the dollar amount of the funding for the city will stay the same.