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Flint, MI—According to municipal finance expert Eric Scorsone, Flint’s revenue at present is “as good as we could hope for,” but COVID-19’s impact on future is uncertain.
During a special order called by Monica Galloway at Monday’s City Council meeting, Scorsone discussed the state of the city’s finances and said an official first quarter report is being prepared.
He said Flint is on target for “what we’d expect for the first couple months of the fiscal year,” for property taxes and income taxes, and close to the target for water and sewer collection.
“It’s about as good as we can hope given the circumstances, and really close to the budget,” Scorsone said. “Now, like I said it’s still early…we don’t know what the winter is gonna bring with COVID.”
He said there are concerns about unemployment running out and a lack of another federal stimulus at this time, and that “at a macro level, we are clearly going to face some headwinds.”
One issue Flint, at the local level, could face is related to income tax.
He said if people are withholding money now in 2020, but have been working from their homes outside of the Flint, “they may claim a refund next year when they do their taxes,” because they weren’t physically working in the city.
If a lot of people worked from their home outside of Flint, the city could experience a loss.
“Detroit has had this issue, they’re preparing for a potential issue down the road,” Scorsone said. “But again, there’s a slight difference there because Detroit is much more heavily dependent on office workers than Flint probably is.”
Still, he said he doesn’t know how big of an issue this will be in the future, “but it’s something we have to at least consider.”