By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
The City of Yukon is on solid financial footing after the city’s general fund received a $2.1 million boost of COVID-19 relief funding.
The funding was awarded in two CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) grants.
“They were both reimbursable grants,” City of Yukon grant writer Claudia Krshka explained. “We had to spend the money first, then were reimbursed.”
Congress passed the CARES Act to help stimulate the U.S. economy amid financial uncertainly caused by the virus.
The first CARES grant that Yukon received totaled $45,966.03.
“We were reimbursed for personal protective equipment (sanitizer, masks, etc.), disinfection of public buildings and police and fire time at COVID testing sites,” Krshka detailed.
The second CARES grant was for $2,114.886.22.
The City of Yukon used salaries from March 1 through Aug. 31 of its public safety personnel – police officers and firefighters – for that reimbursement.
“In August, after the Governor allocated $77 per person for each city, the requirements were changed by the state, to include all salaries of public safety personnel since March 1, regardless of the time they actually spent on COVID-related duties,” Krshka said.
The $2-plus million was spent from the City of Yukon’s general fund and has been reimbursed through the CARES Act, according to City Manager Jim Crosby.
“Last August, we had $13,175,277 in our ‘pooled cash’ (general fund) account,” Crosby told council members. “The current balance of that fund – with the $2 million put back in – is $17,293,797.
“We’ve got $2 million more in that account above the funds from the CARES Act.”
While this month’s sales tax reimbursement was down, the City of Yukon’s sales tax collections for this fiscal year are ahead of last year’s pace. Some city officials had feared a large drop in sales tax revenues because of virus-induced business shutdowns.
“Right now, we’re probably in the strongest position we’ve ever been in,” Crosby said. “We’re in good financial shape.”
$356k BUDGET AMENDMENT
The Yukon City Council, at its Oct. 20th meeting, approved fiscal year 2020-21 budget amendments totaling $356,005 to 19 accounts in the city’s general fund.
This action authorized supplemental appropriations for the purpose of restoring benefits to City of Yukon employees. This comes from a combination of CARES funding and available Public Employees Sales Tax (PEST) funds.
“When I see a large expenditure (on the council agenda), I always ask, ‘Is this good for the city and can we afford it?’” Mayor Shelli Selby said. “With COVID still being in place and with Crest coming (south of 10th Street in Oklahoma City limits), I asked those questions. Can we afford this? And everything that I got back said, ‘yes we can’.”
After approving the budget amendments to restore benefits, council members shared their appreciation to City of Yukon personnel.
“Our city employees don’t go unnoticed,” Ward 4 Council Member Aric Gilliland said. “We appreciate your work and your effort.”
Ward 3 Council Member Donna Yanda also thanked city employees for all their efforts.
“You are so deserving of everything you receive,” she said.