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Woodland revenue projections rosier than other cities in county

The impact to the city of Woodland’s general fund as a result of COVID-19 is projected to be the smallest of any city in Clark County.

The city expects to lose about $300,000, or 5 percent of its general-fund revenue, this year, City Administrator Peter Boyce said. In its annual budget, the city projected $6,004,140 in general-fund revenue.

Boyce pointed primarily to a reduction in sales tax revenue over the past few months. Sales tax data, which cities typically receive two months after collection, revealed a 7.6 percent — $11,416 — decrease in March compared to the same month last year.

City officials say that the decrease was not as severe as expected.

“I think on average, the economic forecast for Woodland is not as grim as some would expect,” Woodland Clerk-Treasurer Mari Ripp said in an email.

March sales were up at the city’s Walmart and Safeway stores, and sales at some restaurants had increased or remained flat, Ripp said. Woodland Saw & Cycle, for instance, reported sales levels that were well above average.

“I’m optimistic that April (June revenue) will be on the same track and reopening business in June will be better still,” Ripp said.

Ripp added, though, that the city is expecting declines in utility payments as residents and businesses struggle to keep up with bills. The city waived late fees for bills in April, is not disconnecting services for those who are unable to pay and is accepting more flexible payment arrangements.

The city has made several expense reductions for travel, training, street light maintenance and office supplies, Boyce said. Three full-time and two part-time employees have been laid off, another employee had work hours cut and seven employees have been furloughed for five days.

Woodland’s general-fund revenue decline projections are rosier than that of other cities in the county: Vancouver (up to 40 percent), La Center (34 percent), Ridgefield (17 percent), Camas (up to 15 percent), Washougal (11 percent) and Battle Ground (7 percent).

Woodland, partially in Clark and Cowlitz counties, has entered Phase 2 of Washington’s reopening plan.


Source: https://www.columbian.com

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