North Metro survives pandemic in great shape

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Despite the pandemic, Westminster, Thornton, Northglenn and Brighton all increased their net financial position by the end of 2020.

Year-end financial reports show the four cities performed better last year than in 2019, but only after some financial maneuvering and government assistance. The pandemic has always led cities to modify the plans initially provided for in the 2020 budget, but has nevertheless positioned them well at the end of the pandemic.

“We are doing better than expected overall. This is the result of moderate revenue collection efforts, ”City of Westminster Director Don Tripp said at a city council meeting on April 26. Tripp’s analysis is similar to that of the Westminster neighbors.

Westminster, Brighton, Northglenn and Thornton all adapted to the pandemic when it started last spring. Westminster, Thornton and Brighton have decided to freeze hiring, while Westminster and Thornton have postponed maintenance plans. Many cities have reduced their parks and recreation programs. Westminster used deferred revenue from 2019 to make up for lost revenue from 2020.

Meanwhile, all cities have received substantial assistance from the federal government in funding COVID-19 aid. Operating grants and contributions revenues increased by $ 11.5 million in Westminster compared to 2019, $ 9.4 million in Thornton, $ 2,955 in Northglenn and $ 4.3 million. of dollars in Brighton.

Federal relief money wasn’t just extra pocket money, however. The pandemic has introduced new expenses for cities, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and the implementation of safeguards to maintain the hygiene of city facilities. Thornton, Northglenn and Brighton all spent more money than they budgeted for the pre-pandemic, according to a comparison of year-end financial reports and adopted budgets for 2020.

Federal cost-cutting measures and stimulus funds have made a difference for cities, as have regular income streams that have worked better than expected. Earlier in the pandemic, tax revenues on sales and use, the most important source of revenue for cities, were on the decline. City finance staff feared this would continue given the general downturn in the economy, although this trend was eventually reversed.

“In the end, we were very pleased with the performance of our tax revenues on sales and use,” Tammy Hitchens, Westminster Chief Financial Officer, said at a Westminster City Council study session on June 7. Tax revenue on sales and use in Thornton and Brighton increased from 2019. was down in Westminster and Northglenn, but not substantially.

Despite the financial difficulties the four cities faced, net positions or year-end balances increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Thornton increased by $ 72.3 million, Westminster by 57.9 million dollars, Brighton of $ 45.8 million and Northglenn of $ 11,267.


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