Five-Year Fiscal Plan
The City of Webster Groves launched a new five-year fiscal plan as a forecasting tool in January of 2022. At this time the tool only applies to the General Fund of the City. This tool provides policy-makers with an understanding of the impact of decisions in an immediate budget year on the future spending of the City. It also provides for a retroactive look at actual revenue collections and spending growth to inform the future forecast of the City.
The Five-Year Plan is built on using the average growth rate from Fiscal Years 2018 to 2022. Those growth rates for both revenue and expenditures are available below in separate files.
The Five-Year Plan is subject to refinement and revision by the City Finance Department as improved estimates and actual collection/expenditure levels are gathered. Further modification for remaining funds of the City will be included in the future.
General Fund Structural Deficit
The City of Webster Groves currently operates with a structural deficit in the General Fund. A structural deficit exists where expenditures are growing at a rate exceeding revenue growth. Between Fiscal Years 2018 and 2022, expenditures have grown at the average rate of 4.29% while revenue has only grown by 1.10% in that same period. The FY2022 budget (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) operates on a General Fund deficit of approximately $2.3 million dollars. The past trends of the City for revenue and expenses can be seen in the charts below which highlight the growth of expenditures exceeding revenue growth. Since Fiscal Year 2018, the City has applied fund balance reserves (savings) to cover the deficit spread over the fiscal years. However, the growth of the difference between revenues and expenditures is not sustainable.
COVID-19 and Revenues
There is no doubt that COVID-19 affected the revenues of the City of Webster Groves. The pandemic's necessary public health orders and closures affected several of the line-items of the City budget. For example, Recreation Fees plummeted by almost $700,000 in Fiscal Year 2020 due to the cancellation of fitness classes and programs. That one revenue stream accounted for an over 4.3% cut to the City revenues. Revenue forecasting for the future will be difficult as the COVID pandemic continues and disrupts normal economic activity.