City of Pleasant Hill set to approve smaller 2020-2021 budget due to COVID-19

Aerial view of the Contra Costa Transit Center, parking lot for Bay Area Rapid Transit, and the city of Pleasant Hill, California on a sunny day, July 26, 2017.

The Pleasant Hill City Council, which generally approves city budgets two years at a time, is poised to pass a one-year budget in light of the financial uncertainties presented by the ongoing COVID-10 coronavirus pandemic.

The one-year budget, which would cover the period July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, is being recommended by the city's Budget Committee.

The city's $27,289,206 overall budget for 2019-2020 is forecast to go down to $25,848,225 for 2020-2021. That represents a 5.6 percent decrease.

While property tax revenue is expected to go up about 2.4 percent in 2020-2021, other tax revenues - transit occupancy (hotel guest) tax, sales taxes and business license taxes, are all expected to go down in 2020-2021 before going back up again as the economy recovers.

The city also imposed a hiring freeze in April, and that likely will continue through this coming fiscal year, according to a city staff report.

The city expects general fund revenues of $22.6 million during the upcoming fiscal year, and expenditures of $25.8 million. The city, according to its staff report, said the use of reserve funds will forestall "extreme service reductions."

The city staff report says that if the economy recovers quickly, or if Pleasant Hill receives some form of federal or state relief, "impactful reductions can be restored. However, if the downturn is deeper or longer, more severe actions will need to be taken." Specific "severe actions" are not mentioned.

The coronavirus and its economic impacts have had devastating effects on city and county budgets throughout California. The League of California Cities has said that every single city in the state faces significant projected revenue loss for their 2019-20 and 2020-21 budgets - a total shortfall of more than $7 billion. More than 90 percent of California cities are considering employee layoffs or furloughs, or cutting public services, the League said; 72 percent are considering doing both.

Monday's Pleasant Hill City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. It is being held over the Internet; go to