Like many of our surrounding communities, the Town of Parker’s budget has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and the Governor’s Stay at Home Order. Although crucial for community health, these orders have had a devastating effect on Parker’s budget. A forecasted decline in sales tax and other revenues, combined with an additional $1 million in unplanned COVID-19 response expenses, has resulted in the need to reduce the Town’s budgeted revenues by $13 million, or about 25 percent, for the remainder of 2020. A total of nine of the Town’s budget funds will be impacted by the forecasted drop in sales tax and other tax revenues.
Revenue declines are being offset from three different areas:
- Use of $6 million in cash reserves
- Transfers from two funds of $4 million to offset the provision of law enforcement services and capital expenditures
- Reductions in Town expenses of $4 million
The reductions in Town expenses include, but are not limited to, eliminating $2 million in purchased services for previously budgeted professional services contracts; replacing print publications such as Talk of the Town, Recreation Season Brochure and Parker Arts Season Brochure with digital delivery for the remainder of 2020; reducing the number and/or footprint of Town, Cultural and Parks and Recreation-provided events (including the Discovery Park Concert Series, the Parker Stars and Stripes Celebration and the Cattle Crossing Race); postponing a major street resurfacing project; scaling back Mainstreet holiday lights; limiting planting replacements throughout the community; eliminating non-required employee training; and reducing economic development incentives. Many projects scheduled for 2020, including the O’Brien Park playground renovation, the Parker Road Corridor Plan and the Parker Road/Mainstreet Concept design have been put on hold and the Chambers/Stroh sub-area plan and Retail Demand Study have both been eliminated.
In addition, to further offset declines in revenue and with some Town facilities closed, approximately 500 part-time Town staff have been required to take time off without pay for an undetermined period of time. All Town facilities will also be closed for five intermittent days throughout 2020 and all Town employees will be furloughed on those days, excluding Commissioned Police Officers and other public safety sensitive or emergency related positions. In addition, most vacant positions will be frozen and additional staffing adjustments are under consideration.
Similar to other Colorado municipalities, sales tax is important to Parker as it is the main source of revenue for the Town. Budgeted sales and use tax makes up 86% of all taxes collected by the Town and provides funding for the many services and amenities enjoyed by residents and visitors, including police protection and public safety; road and traffic improvements; parks, trails and recreation; community events and more. These cost-saving measures will allow the Town to achieve a balanced budget for the remainder of 2020 and to continue operations in the midst of this pandemic.
The Town appreciates the support of the community during this unprecedented time. As we know more, we will provide additional information through our communications channels and on our website at www.ParkerOnline.org/Coronavirus.