GAINESVILLE – The one required public hearing for the City of Gainesville’s fiscal year 2022 budget saw no one come forward at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting to comment on the $122.2-million spending plan; it now moves on for final ratification on June 15th.
As reported last week, the city’s FY2022 budget features a 1-mil tax credit for the next two years, funded by monies from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Gainesville is scheduled to receive $12-miilion from the federal relief package designed to help local governments deal with the financial impact of COVID-19.
Lackey said his team had to prepare the budget without knowing exactly how many people it would affect, as official population numbers affect aspects of the city’s balance sheet and those population numbers are still undetermined.
“One of the challenges is the population growth,” Lackey said.
City officials say Gainesville’s population is rising, as evidenced by the strong increase in new construction across the city, but exactly how much of an increase remains to be determined. “We are very anxious to get our (U.S.) Census numbers in. As you know they are delayed this year because of COVID, but any day now we expect those results to come in and we’re really anxious to see where we are,” Lackey told council members.
Lackey said a couple of the quirky things coming out of last year’s (FY 2021) budget experience which was heavily influenced by COVID-19 uncertainty, was spending by Gainesville residents. “We just assumed going into a pandemic that people wouldn’t buy cars. We got that wrong. They didn’t stop buying cars; in fact, I think they bought more cars. That’s why there’s almost a projected 100-percent increase in that revenue,” Lackey said with a smile.
“Same on the Permitting and Zoning fees,” he added. “We budgeted last year for a sharp decrease because we thought development might stop. Development in this town did not stop, in fact it cranked up a little bit.”
To view the City of Gainesville’s full FY2022 budget click here.