Garrett Writes Down Revenue Projections by $5 million Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Garrett County expects to lose $5 million in local revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garrett County SealGarrett County Government Director of Finance, Scott Weeks, last week announced that he expects the County will lose approximately $5 million in local revenues over the next six months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While revenue projections are down, the County is positioned well and has a plan in place. “I believe we will be able to weather this storm.” Weeks said.

“This is a global situation with so much uncertainty. Right now, I think we are going to be able to make due by shuffling a few things around,” said Board of Garrett County Commissioners Chairman Paul Edwards. “Also, my fellow Commissioners agree, it’s raining now. We may have to tap into the reserves we have managed for just such an event with large-scale impacts.”

As previously reported on Conduit Street, according to the National Association of Counties (NACo), nationwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to impact county budgets by over $144 billion through fiscal 2021.

According to a Garrett County press release:

Weeks is estimating losses for income tax, accommodations tax, admission and amusement tax, recordation tax, transfer tax, and investment income.

Weeks has been involved in regular meetings with the Maryland Association of Counties and the State Director for the Bureau of Revenue Estimates, Andrew Schaufele. The groups have been attempting to pin down a percentage figure to gauge the impact of the pandemic on income tax which is the County’s second largest revenue stream.

The budget gap has been closed by reducing some services such as paving and deferring some capital projects and capital expenditures. Also, the Government has put a hold on hiring.

The 2020 Fiscal Year ends June 30, 2020, with a projected $2.7 million reduction in revenue. Also, using best-estimates, the county will see reduction in projected revenue of $2.2 million for the 2021 Fiscal Year operating from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

In addition, it is important to note that both state and federal funding has been made available to cover expenses specific to COVID-19. The county has applied for and has secured funding through multiple programs.