Sycamore budget estimates show "significant lag" in revenue due to COVID-19, says City Manager

SYCAMORE - Early estimates beginning to show up on the City of Sycamore's finance books show a significant lag in revenue expected due to economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Monday's city council meeting, Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory and Finance Director Adam Orton gave an update on the city's finances.

"The numbers are starting to trickle in, but as expected they're lagging significantly," Gregory said. "We've talked about not overreacting and at the same time not under-reacting, and some of the steps that we're taking to prepare as the numbers come in so we can make the appropriate adjustments as needed."

In Orton's May treasurer's report, it was noted that gas tax revenue for the city was down by 53%. Property tax revenue collection is underway as planned, however.

"In May we received our first of five property tax installment," Orton said.

The city of Sycamore's fiscal year May 1 through April 30, and while the council passed a balanced $17 million budget April 20, anticipated shortfalls are expected to impact this year and also next, at least, Gregory has said.

"While this is fiscally a pretty rough start to FY2021, we're trying to balance what our businesses need, what our community needs, how to keep a high level if service," he said. "So we'll have more concrete thoughts either on July 6 or our second meeting in July."

Some of Sycamore's businesses originally deemed 'non-essential' have applied for state COVID-19 relief grant aid through the City of Sycamore, including Knodles Appliance Service Company Inc, Professional Services in Health Psychology Ltd and Diamond Tour Golf Wholesalers. All three businesses each requested $25,000 from the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, a grant program which uses federal dollars administered through the state of Illinois and through local municipalities.

Gregory said Monday no requests have yet been approved by the state, however.

"The first round of awards did not have any DeKalb County recipients," Gregory said. "And only about 10% of dollars that were available were distributed in that award, so we'll continue to watch that."

As the state heads into an expected phase 4 of Gov. JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan at the end of the month, Gregory said more businesses will be able to open, including 50 people or less public and private gatherings, indoor restaurants and bar options with limited capacity.

"It's very stressful for everybody," said Mayor Curt Lang. "But everybody like Brian said has been together so it's not easy but the end product has been good."