Grayson County commissioners Tuesday discussed the fact that the county could find itself facing a shortfall in income of up to $1.7 million by the end of the year due to COVID-19.

The discussion came as county leaders held their weekly meeting by Zoom. Grayson County Judge Bill Mager asked County Commissioner Jeff Whitmire and Auditor Suzzette Smith to look at the county’s revenue during the time since the economic shut down to compare it to last year.

With only about two weeks worth of information from the shutdown, the county is already down about 30 percent. Magers said if things continue as is, the county can expect to be down about 50 percent by the end of the fiscal year.

He said there isn’t a need to worry right at this moment, but the county wants to be prepared to make changes as they go along rather than waiting until budget season and having to face a huge shortfall.

A large portion of the loss comes from the drop in auto registrations from new car sales which is down by about 50 percent.

He also expects property taxes to be down in the next budget cycle.

Magers said there is not way to know, right now, what kind of economic recovery the area could see once the COVID-19 crisis is over. Generally, the county budget is based on about a $1 million shortfall, but by the time the new property is added to the tax rolls, the county generally comes out about $500,000 ahead.

That might not happen this year.

Whitmire said the situation might mean the county is forced to make some hard decisions down the road. No one elaborated on what those choices might be at this point.

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