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City must keep eye on budget’s bottom line

No doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a blow to the City of Natchez’s coffers.

The good news, however, is that the blow is not as bad as it could have been, some city officials said.

When the numbers for April, which are reflected in May’s tax revenue report, rolled in this month, the tax revenue for the city was down approximately $82,000 over the previous year.

Same can be said about revenue for March which were reflected in April’s revenue, which was down approximately $60,000 from what was received in April 2019.

The numbers reflect an approximate 30% loss in revenue for the period, city officials said.

“It’s bad, but not as bad as I thought it would be,” said Dan Dillard Ward 6 Natchez alderman. “I was expecting a bigger drop in sales numbers and hopefully this is something that we can work on as far as closing the gap.”

Apparently, while some sectors of sales tax revenue were hit hard, such as hotels and restaurants, in the first two months of the pandemic other sectors such as hardware and grocery stores picked up as people stayed home and working around the house and cooking at homes.

Still, 30% loss in revenue will mean some belt tightening for the city.

We implore city officials to keep their eyes on the bottom line and try to live within the means of the city’s new economic picture.

Hopefully, now that some businesses are reopened and tourism is picking up the future tax revenue losses will not be as steep.