Brocato: City to take conservative approach toward next year’s budget

HOOVER – The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated budget cuts and revisions for countless cities across the country, including Hoover.

In a July 1 videoed statement, Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato shared an update on the city’s financial status as the end of the current fiscal year approaches and a new budget season begins.

“As we continue to see the effects of COVID-19 on our nation, the city of Hoover is dealing with the economic impact of the virus just like other communities,” Brocato said. “We are in constant communication with other mayors across the state, and we are all sharing best practices to meet these current challenges. Although we have experienced a decline in some revenues, I’m pleased to tell you that so far the impact has not been as bad as it could have been.”

In March, city leaders started working on a financial plan to counteract the projected loss of revenue from business closures and stay-at-home orders.

The financial plan is based on four objectives: forecast expected lost revenue in the current budget year, protect the financial health and stability of the city, provide the highest possible level of services to the public and maintain Hoover’s status as the “municipal employer of choice.”

The Hoover City Council on June 15 approved an amended budget for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 with expense cuts that account for an anticipated $15 million shortfall in revenue.

“We have eliminated costs such as travel and vehicle purchases, and we have cut spending by over $4 million compared to last year,” Brocato said. “We have more than 60 vacant jobs in city government right now, and we are saving over $1 million by not filling those positions. Overall, we have found $15 million in cuts that we can make if necessary to balance our current budget. We are making hard choices, but that is what you elected us to do.”

Brocato said he promises to bring a balanced budget proposal to the City Council for consideration for the new fiscal year, which starts in October.

“It could be quite some time before the economy fully recovers, so we are being extremely conservative as we put together next year’s budget,” Brocato said. “We will continue to have a wonderful city with great services and quality of life, and we will do it while living within our means.”

Brocato said a list of all purchases is available for viewing on the city’s website, Hooveral.org.

“In my administration, contracts for services go through a competitive process that is more strict than the law requires,” Brocato said. “Our philosophy is simple – it’s not our money, it’s yours, and we treat it the way you expect us to. We will keep working every day to keep Hoover in excellent financial condition, and we will come out of these challenging economic times leaner and stronger than ever before.”