DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Empty restaurants and stores along with the rest of the Covid-19 shutdown will slash sales tax revenues in the city of Dallas.

In a memo to employees, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said he anticipates a $25 million shortfall for the rest of this fiscal year, and that the projected shortfall could jump to between $73 million and $134 million next fiscal year, starting October 1.

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To make up for that, Broadnax said after May 4, the city may have to implement extended or intermittent furlough days, offer early retirement incentives, and/or have abbreviated work hours or a reduction in force.

Council Member Lee Kleinman said this year’s shortfall is big, but manageable. “I think we can make some adjustments through the end of the year that are workable. For next year, when we’re looking at as much as a $100 million shortfall, that’s going to be a lot harder because then you have to cut a lot deeper.”

On March 19, the city implemented a hiring freeze across all departments on non-essential positions.

Full-time employees will continue to receive their full pay and benefits through May 4, four days later than first told.

Broadnax told the Mayor and Council Members that the city will end this year with 97 more police officers than budgeted – 3,150 sworn officers instead of 3,053.

The city of Dallas is also still facing millions of dollars in losses from last October’s tornado.

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The city still hasn’t qualified for reimbursement from FEMA.

Without those FEMA funds, the city estimates it will have to tap as much as $16 million from its emergency reserves.

Texas Senator John Cornyn said Friday he’s hoping the state’s appeal will be successful. “I’ve told the city council and the Mayor that if it’s not for some reason, then we will continue to look for resources and ways for the city to meet that financial burden.”

Congress already voted to send $150 billion to state and local governments to help with coronavirus-related expenses.
No word yet if more aid will be on the way.

But Council Member Paula Blackmon said regardless, the city will have to look at every program to see how worthwhile it is.

“We can’t raise taxes at a time like this. I think the way to get your economy going is giving a little bit of money in people’s pockets and we’re just going to have to do things differently.”

The city’s Chief Financial Officer will present a budget plan to the Mayor and Council Members May 6.

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