City sees 23% decline in revenues, considers finances ‘strong’

City sees 23% decline in revenues, considers finances ‘strong’

PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - As the weeks go by during the pandemic, cities are now facing the impact of a lack of revenue coming into their coffers.

The revenues for the city of Paragould were down 23.63% from March to April, according to finance director Teresa Stormes.

“The city, there hasn’t been any big changes, not really, not until just recently,” she says.

This change in the city’s numbers peaked when the coronavirus pandemic began, Stormes says.

While it sounds detrimental, it really isn’t, Stormes noted.

“It makes what appear to be little spikes in revenues or expenses, but they’re really not. They level out over a years’ time,” she says.

Both Stormes and Mayor Mike Gaskill have asked department heads to cut back on unnecessary spending. So far, she says the departments have done well in managing their money.

“The expenditures had only gone up 3.34% overall,” she says. “It’s a matter of going fund by fund and I can tell you our finances are strong.”

The new fire station on Highway 49 in Paragould has also forced officials to keep a close eye on spending.

“We’re just trying to possibly look at things, maybe, we can push down the road a little bit and include them in next year’s budget,” Fire Chief Kevin Lang says.

They’re cutting back on out-of-state training, putting off furnishings in the new station, and trying to save money, wherever they can.

Chief Lang did emphasize, the new fire station’s operational parts of the building will not be skipped.

He considers Paragould “lucky” for its leaders.

“The mayor [and] the council has had the foresight to make sure we have some reserves to work off of,” he says.

Stormes also praises the city’s leaders for their reserves.

“You never know when they’re going to be stretched. You have to be prepared,” she says. “Our mayor has done that and I’m proud of him for it.”

Chief Lang predicts the new fire station to be completed in September.

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