These nonprofits got a little slice of Mount Shasta's budget

Kelsey Shelton
Mount Shasta Herald

Mount Shasta city councilors last Monday heard the city's budget is "in the black" – despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic – and decided to allocate funds to the Visitor's Center, the Siskiyou Economic Development Council, Meals on Wheels, and Sisson Museum.

Although the city has suffered loss, finance director Muriel Howarth Terrell said that loss is balancing out with new income from sales, Transient Occupancy Tax and property tax dollars because people continue to travel to Mount Shasta, and local people are shopping close to home.

City of Mt. Shasta logo

“The difficulty is, yes we are doing better in sales and property taxes – but not on expenditures,” said Howarth Terrell.

Councilors outlined priorities including the reinstatement of a code enforcement officer and an employee in the finance department; equipment transfer funds; and allocations for nonprofits.

“As we open back up and people travel to shop again, theres a good argument that sales tax revenues might decline," said councilor Jeffrey Collings. "We might end up where we are now and if we do everything ... we’re going to be in an ongoing negative situation."

The city also received about $50,000 in COVID relief funds. There is talk of a second economic relief package for cities with small populations like Mount Shasta, but that is not a sure thing, Howarth Terrell said.

Siskiyou Economic Development Council executive director Tonya Dowse noted her organization has been part of a multi-year collaboration with the city to attract tourism to the area. Funding the city provides is “integral to what we do.” Dowse went on to say that all money the SEDC receives from the city is used.

District 2 Supervisor Ed Valenzuela said the SEDC is “an investment to our future ... There is a lot of support from the Supervisors to keep the Economic Development Council rolling,” said Valenzuela.

Eventually, Councilor Tessa Montgomery proposed the city allocate a full year's funding for the Visitor’s Bureau and the Economic Development Council, and focus on the finance department hire.

Councilor Tim Stearns noted that when he was first on the council, the city failed to place allocate money to the equipment transfer fund and it suffered when they had to make big expenditures.

Stearns made a motion to allocate contractually obligated funding to both the SEDC and the Visitors Bureau; $10,000 toward the advertisement of the finance employee position; and provide monies to the equipment replacement fund. An additional $1,250 went to the Meals on Wheels program and $1,500 to Sisson Museum.

Howarth Terrell noted that in making those allocations, the city would remain on budget for the remainder of the year. Councilor John Stackfleth seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved by councilors.