City Council beat: City collected $31 million in property taxes and $2.9 million in income taxes in first months of fiscal year

By Tom Travis

The City of Flint has collected $2.9 million in income taxes and $31 million in property taxes only a few months into the FY 2021 budget year, according to Amanda Trujillo, City Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, in a report to the Flint City Council Monday.

Trujillo added that the city is projecting to collect $56 million in property taxes by the end of the fiscal year.

In an early March 2020 press conference, Mayor Neeley took questions from the press in a conference room in City Hall. Seated with the Mayor are Eric Scorsone, municipal finance expert and financial advisor to Mayor Neeley (left) and City Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, Amanda Trujillo (right).

Trujillo went on to explain that $56 million is the total property taxes collected by the city for all the millages. She said the city is essentially a pass through for the majority of that funding. The City of Flint only accounts for 19.1 of the city’s 53.2 mills paid by residents. A full break down of millages is provided here from the city’s Finance Department.

TAXLEVY.Flint 2020 (1) (1)

Financial Advisor to the City confirms Flint is “on target” for collection of taxes

Eric Scorsone, finance advisor to the Mayor, updated the city council on the city’s finances and told them a full report of the first quarter will be presented to them in mid-October. Scorsone was present at Monday’s meeting by request of Council President Monica Galloway (7th Ward).

Galloway asked Scorsone to summarize where the city stands fiscally and how collections for the City of Flint property taxes are going. The first payment in this budget year, she noted, was due Aug.  31.

Scorsone responded the city has collected $2.9 million in income taxes in only the first few months of the FY2021 budget year.

Scorsone added this is “pretty good considering the pandemic and we’re in a recession.” He said the city’s revenues are “as good as we could have hoped for,” adding that it’s hard  to see the full impact of the COVID pandemic on the city’s finances.

“So with all the challenges our community has faced with unemployment, we are on target?” Galloway asked.   Scorsone replied, “Yeah,  and we’ll have a better idea with our report for the first quarter in mid-October.”

Scorsone raised one caveat in the issue of collecting taxes — that when employees file their taxes next year and they’ve been working from home during the pandemic and their home is outside of the city of Flint,  then the city will lose that tax money. Scorsone pointed out that Detroit is experiencing this however he added that Detroit is much more heavily dependent on office workers than Flint is.

Mayor Neeley reports to City Council on City Hall business during the pandemic

At the council’s bi-monthly meeting Monday, Mayor Sheldon Neeley explained to City Council where city hall stands and how life is carrying on at City Hall through the pandemic.

The Mayor was there at the invite of Councilperson Herb Winfrey (6th Ward) to update the council and the public.

Mayor Neeley’s  presentation got off to a rough start, however,  after several interruptions and back and forth exchanges between himself and Councilperson Eric Mays (1st Ward).

The Mayor was eventually able to share all that he wanted to, but not after considerable interruptions and arguing. Council President Monica Galloway (7th Ward) chimed in several times attempting to allow the Mayor’s presentation to continue and at times challenging the Mayor on his own behavior in the meeting.

Mays, and eventually Galloway also, asked the Mayor to answer one yes or no question:  “Are you aware of the emergency ordinance when the city is in a pandemic?” The Mayor never did answer that question.

City Hall is open for business 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday

When Neeley was able to speak,  he clarified some details about the ongoing daily work schedule of City Hall. He announced that City Hall is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Monday through Friday. According to a follow-up email with Marjory Raymer, director of Communications, those hours include the customer service department, the assessor’s office, and the front desk.

All offices are available by phone call for normal business hours and sometimes by appointment.

For voting, however, Neeley said City Hall is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and soon will be adding weekend hours.

New Exterior Customer Service Window being constructed

Mayor Neeley also announced an exterior walk-up customer service window is being constructed to allow residents to pay bills and do business without entering the City Hall building.

COVID screening, testing and temperature checks

The Mayor said  screening with temperature checks are done daily by medical personnel in the Dome at City Hall as employees report to work. COVIDtesting has also been conducted by medical personnel over the last months.

The number of City Hall employees working in the building changes from day-to-day according to a follow-up email with Raymer. She stated that some employees come in for specific tasks that require them to be here and then return to work remotely. Raymer said that employees who can work remotely continue to do so.

Thirteen city employees test positive for Covid as of mid-August

Raymer said that as of mid-August, a total of 13 employees tested positive for coronavirus. The most recent positive test was in June. This employee worked remotely a majority of the time.

The Mayor also said that since ordering water service reconnected for all residents on March 12, 2020, 600 residents have had their service reconnected.

Mayor Neeley had to leave the city council meeting early due a scheduled phone call with Michigan lieutenant governor.

EVM assistant editor Tom Travis can be reached at tomntravis@gmail.com.

Author: Tom Travis

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