Clark County prepares for financial impacts of pandemic

Clark County has been monitoring revenues and expenditures due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and developing initial assumptions on potential revenue loss. The county is anticipating current year revenue losses of $5 to $13 million. In order to prepare for the revenue shortfall, the county is implementing a phased reduction approach to balance the 2020 budget.The initial phase included implementing strategic initiatives at the onset of the COVID-19 response, including:

  • Established a hiring freeze
  • Eliminated nonessential spending
  • Eliminated overtime when possible
  • Put some General Fund projects on hold

County departments have submitted draft reduction scenarios and, in combination with current efforts, have been able to realize approximately $4 million is cost savings. These savings are primarily attributed to personnel vacancy savings and delaying projects. County departments continue to review their General Fund budgets, assessing service levels and additional potential cost savings measures.

Departments will submit reduction scenarios to include a 2%, 3% and 5% reduction that may be realized in June, July and August. The county’s Finance Team, which consists of the interim county manager, the finance director, the deputy treasurer and the budget director will continue to monitor expenditures and actual revenues received and will adjust the projections as needed on a weekly basis.

“While there are many challenges during this unprecedented time, the county is reviewing opportunities in which we can continue to provide necessary services to Clark County residents,” said Kathleen Otto, interim county manager. 

As with many other local jurisdictions, Clark County will receive funding through the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The anticipated amount is $26.8 million. The Auditor’s Office currently is reviewing county expenses to ensure all Department of Treasury guidelines are met.

“What we do know is that funding from the CARES Act cannot be used for revenue losses,” said Otto.

Comments

comments

Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.