Jan 13, 2021 12:28 PM

Cantrell: Travel related areas of economy struggled, but city is doing okay after 2020

Posted Jan 13, 2021 12:28 PM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Hutchinson City Manager Jeff Cantrell noted that the areas of the economy that are dependent on people coming in from out of town struggled in 2020.

"Transient guest tax, for instance, they took a pretty significant hit," Cantrell said. "It looks like we're down about 32 or 33%. What that means for anyone that lives in Hutch is that when you drive by a hotel or motel operation, you're going to see that their business is down and understand that's impacting their employees and their bottom line."

Another area of struggle is the special alcohol tax.

"That would be where you go to a restaurant, sit down, order a drink," Cantrell said. "That is down significantly, too, about 35% year to date. That has correlation with local restaurants. It's not just drinks, it would be their general business that would coincide with that. Some fast food retailers did very well."

Other areas picked the city up, though.

"As far as the city's cash balance, we're in a really good position," Cantrell said. "Because of CARES act funding coming through, we are better than projected. When this thing came on, the City Council and the previous manager, they sat down and department heads, they came up with a strategy that put pretty conservative measures in place to safeguard against the unknown. What has turned out is the unknown has been better than forecast. We're sitting pretty good."

It looks as if the city is going to be really close to its intended reserve of two months of expenses after all bills are paid that were issued by the end of the year.