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COVID-19 impact on DeKalb County tax revenues not as bad as anticipated, officials say

SYCAMORE – The state of DeKalb County revenue sources isn’t looking as concerning as initially thought amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to county officials.

Pete Stefan, finance director for DeKalb County, said during the county’s Wednesday night virtual finance committee meeting that the county is expecting to be about $600,000 down across all major revenue sources from the last several months and a total of $1.5 million for fiscal year 2020. He said the county is now looking at $52,000 less in unincorporated sales tax revenue for the next budget year, along with $135,000 less in countywide sales tax.

“March, April and May were definitely hits,” Stefan said. “But since then, those numbers have stabilized.”

Stefan wrote in a Thursday email that, before the economy partially re-opened in June, the potential revenue loss projections he was looking at back in March were a $2.3 million reduction with a moderate impact, a $3.3 million reduction with a heightened impact and a $4.3 million impact with a severe impact.

“Had those [March, April and May] trends continued, the county would have been heading down the heightened path of revenue reduction for the year,” Stefan wrote. “Had they increased in intensity, a worse case scenario closer to the severe path would have materialized. And had they slowed down their pace of reduction, a path closer to the moderate path would have been the result.”

Stefan also said the county’s motor fuel tax revenue is expected to be about $200,000 less for the next budget year.

“That one’s expected to continue, with a lot of remote working occurring,” Stefan said.

Stefan said the county has been awarded a total of total of $6.6 million in grant funds, but it’s not all for this year. Some of those grants are multi-year grants, like a grant for contact tracing efforts for the health department, he said.

Stefan said the good news is that the local use tax, which includes online sales, is the only revenue source that has been pulling in more than it typically does. He said the county is looking at being $125,000 over that projected revenue income by the end of year.

“The local use tax, the one bright spot, the one positive number on this page, that keeps chugging along,” Stefan said.

Specifically regarding the impact to the general fund, Stefan said he’s expecting that to be down about $187,000.

“So much better than what we had expected when this thing first started,” Stefan said.

Committee members said they would like to continue to be updated on what’s going on with COVID-19 related impacts to county revenue sources.

DeKalb County Board Vice-Chairman John Frieders, who is also part of the county’s finance committee, weighed in on the projections.

“So in the long run, we’re still on target for what the expectation was,” he said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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