COVID-19 costing the City of Corpus Christi millions

Posted at 9:23 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 23:50:57-04

Shuttered stores, hotels with very low occupancy, and other revenue streams are struggling because of COVID-19 precautions are costing Corpus Christi's General Fund between $14 million and 21 million in lost funding this fiscal year.

That's according to a financial update Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni presented to the city council Tuesday.

“With people all in their houses, there’s not much sales going on," said Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb. "We anticipated we would see a significant reduction in sales tax, and that has come to pass based on the prediction that the city manager presented to us today.”

More than half of the General Fund is used to run the Corpus Christi Police Department, but McComb said there are no plans to reduce full-time staff levels to make up for the lost revenue.

At Tuesday's daily coronavirus news conference, the mayor suggested the city might save money by renegotiating bonds to get lower interest rates. He also said it can tap into reserve accounts to bring in more money.

“Those reserves are in good shape," McComb said. "So in a once-in-a-while situation, those reserves really come in to protect us when a real disaster hits."

COVID-19 has been a disaster for the economy, and that has state and local leaders loosening restrictions on how businesses can operate, which could mean a boost in sales-tax revenue.

But Corpus Christi - Nueces Co. Public Health District Director of Public Health Annette Rodriguez urges the community -- with rules getting relaxed -- to continue good hygiene practices and social distancing.

“We have to be vigilant," Rodriguez said. "Or we’re going to see that upsurge (in COVID-19 cases), and we’re going to be right back in the same position we were in earlier on.”