They say every black cloud has a silver lining, and City Councilmember Justin Outling has found one in the $8 million revenue shortfall city staff has projected for the city’s 2020-2021 fiscal year budget.

Outling said that the revenue shortfall was going to force the City Council to take a closer look at the budget than it has in the past. He said, “Hopefully this will result in us being more strategic in spending what we do have.”

Outling said that one of the primary reasons he voted against the current budget that included a 3 cent property tax increase was because he didn’t think the council had spent enough time and effort going over the budget to justify the tax increase.

He said, “We didn’t do the work to make sure the budget was as tight as it could be before having a tax increase.”

Outling noted that last year the City Council passed a motion he made to fund nonprofit organizations, what the city calls community partners, through departments rather than having a separate pot of money to divide up amongst them.

He said that, while the motion passed, the City Council didn’t strictly adhere to the policy, but with the policy in place and funds running short, he thought there was a much better chance of that happening this year.

Funding for nonprofits has been an issue for Greensboro city councils for at least the past 25 years and various city councils have tried different methods of reducing the funding and improving the process with limited success.

Outling said that when you’re considering the entire budget of around $500 million and the sticking point is $50,000 one councilmember wants for a certain nonprofit, the attitude on the council has been to allocate the money and move on. He noted that with money tight this year that might not be the case, which would be an improvement.

According to the proposed budget schedule, City Manager David Parrish will present his recommended budget to the Tuesday, May 19 virtual City Council meeting. The public hearing on the budget will be held at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 2, which may be held in the Council Chamber, and the budget is to be adopted by City Council at the Tuesday, June 16 meeting.