Fayetteville slices $2M from budget
Posted November 25, 2008 5:24 p.m. EST
Updated November 25, 2008 6:43 p.m. EST
Fayetteville, N.C. — Slumping sales tax revenues have forced Fayetteville officials to cut more than $2 million from the city budget.
"The economy has changed quite a bit since the end of August," City Manager Dale Iman said. "We want to ensure that what we're doing now we can continue to do – and do well – before we bite off something new."
Fayetteville has put off buying vehicles, hiring consultants and buying $57,000 in public art. It also has put the skids on plans to spend $205,000 on a municipal skate park.
“If it’s something that’s really not going to have a significant impact on our operations, then we are considering it for waiting a little bit to determine what the economy is going to do,” Iman said.
Cumberland County has seen sales tax revenue drop by $445,000 in the last two months, compared with the same period last year, said Howard Abner, the county's assistant finance director. All county departments are cutting what he calls discretionary spending, including supplies, equipment and travel, he said.
"The last thing we want to do is send people home. That would be an absolute last resort," Abner said. "Maybe delaying hiring through a freeze wouldn’t necessarily be out of the question."
Other area cities also have been trying to cut back because of the slowdown in consumer spending – and the resulting decrease in the flow of tax revenues. Raleigh, for example, has put off tennis court repairs, street repaving and and maintenance of city greenways.
"I think it's that people just don't have the money to make the purchases they want to buy. They just got to buy the necessities," said Jimmy O'Neal, a Fayetteville merchant.