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Posted on: November 3, 2021

An Open Letter to Our Employees and Community Regarding City Finances

Open Letter

Last night, the City Council heard our update on the closing of Fiscal Year 2020-21. Now that we have closed this chapter, we are able to focus our efforts on the future.

We have been operating with an incredibly lean budget, and many important changes and improvements had been placed on the back burner for more than a year. Our staff has worked tirelessly to ensure that Napa continued to deliver necessary information and services to our residents in spite of fewer resources. We are excited to refocus our efforts on rebuilding our staff numbers, undertake important projects, events and programs.

We, as the City, had to prepare for the worst in managing the impacts of the pandemic and hope for a better outcome. Because of our collective effort, we are pleased to share that the year has ended in a net positive position. On closing the books of FY 20-21, the City of Napa is seeing a brighter picture than we originally predicted after all of the uncertainty and revenue loss from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

By anticipating the financial impact COVID-19 could have on our City early on, we took action to cut costs, operate with a reduced staff and use one-time funding from a variety of sources to stabilize the General Fund. Though we were facing a revenue shortage, we established an actionable plan to keep Napa functioning and balanced our budget to keep the City on track. The conservative budget measures the City and our staff took early on in the pandemic allowed us to weather the storm and come out on the other side. 

The action of conservative budgeting, holding down expenditures to meet operating revenues, along with slightly higher than anticipated revenue overall, has allowed us to end the year with a $5.59 million positive projected net position. With a greater net position than we expected, the City’s overall financial picture, while still not at pre-pandemic levels, allows us some more flexibility as we move forward. We are now able to repay fill in some gaps and fund important items that didn’t make it into our original, pared down budget for FY 2021-22 as well as to refund some of those one-time revenue sources used to shore up the previous year’s budget.

The City is relieved to be able to direct these dollars back into Napa’s community sidewalks, public facilities, and our fire apparatus replacement funds—all of which saw drastic funding cuts in the original budget. Additionally, we refunded needed playground equipment retrofits, park infrastructure replacements and parking lot repairs so residents can safely and comfortably enjoy the outdoors at our parks. These were projects we had previously cut to ensure we met our budget concerns. We all recognize the relief and joy our parks provided for our residents during the worst of the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to giving them a bit of TLC so that they can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Above all, Napa remains committed to our residents and community. By recruiting the best people, we are confident we will only be able to improve our service and deliver exciting future projects.

Though we have not fully financially recovered from the pandemic, we will continue to evaluate our fiscal situation and adjust our path forward as needed. This positive position we find ourselves in now allows us to stay optimistic for our financial future.

Lastly, the City of Napa has continued to pursue new programs, host community events, complete infrastructure projects and invest in our City even throughout our recovery period. As we enter a season of gratitude and festivities, we are particularly thankful to celebrate the end of 2021 in better financial standing than expected and with each other (in-person!).

I am always thankful for the entire City of Napa staff and the incredible community we get to call home.

 

To the future,

Steve Potter

P.S. Napa will always stay open and honest about our financial situation. You can subscribe to our emails or follow the @CityofNapa on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to stay updated on our progress.