City of Iowa City expected to take $4.6 million loss in 2020 budget

Iowa City Finance Director Dennis Bockenstedt presented to the City Council the financial impacts on revenue and expenditures in the community due to the novel coronavirus pandemic Tuesday.


Hayden Froehlich

Mayor Bruce Teague speaks at a city council meeting over Zoom on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Items included the possible building of solar panels in Waterworks Prairie Park and the COVID-19 City Employee Pay Plan.

Riley Davis, News Reporter

Two months since Johnson County confirmed its first positive COVID-19 case, the novel-coronavirus pandemic has created a “fluid and unpredictable” financial environment for Iowa City and caused negative impacts to revenue and expenditures, as local officials predicted at an Iowa City City Council meeting Tuesday.

The city’s budget for fiscal 2020 previously expected to gain roughly $175.8 million in revenue — 38 percent from property taxes, 24 percent from charges for service, 20 percent from intergovernmental, and the remaining 18 percent from licenses and permits, other financial sources, charges for services, use of money and property, and other city taxes. The city now faces a total of roughly $4.6 million in losses from the general, road use, transit, water, and parking budgets. 

Iowa City Finance Director Dennis Bockenstedt said the most significantly impacted revenue areas will be the city’s general fund, which includes property and hotel/motel taxes, intergovernmental and road use taxes, licenses and permits, and charges for services such as utility, parking, and transit fees. 

City personnel, services, and supplies are affected expenditures, and Bockenstedt said potential savings that could be made in these areas included reducing the city’s workforce, delay filling open positions, and discontinuing temps and interns while reducing travel, training, equipment repair and maintenance, and grant programs. 

RELATED: Iowa City City Council adopts fiscal 2020 budget

He also recommended the city reduce office supplies and minor equipment as supply money shifts to payment for safety and cleaning supplies.

The fiscal 2021 budget predicts roughly $9.76 million in losses from the general, road use, transit, water, and parking budgets.