The Kyle Report is an opinion column written by Kyle resident, Pete Oppel, that covers city leadership issues. You can follow The Kyle Report here on the Kyle Life or by subscribing to Mr. Oppel’s blog, The Kyle TX Report.

February’s sales tax numbers have been posted and, simply put, they border on being disastrous — over $56,000 below projections which more than doubles the city’s budget gap.

What makes this even more troubling is what happened last year when the city’s sales tax receipts fell drastically below projections in the last months of the year. But the city was $270,750.42 in the black this at this same time last year, yet it finished the year $281,897.11 dollars below projections.. That’s a loss of $552,647.53 during the final eight months of FY 2015-16. This month, however, the city is already $92,916.86 in the red — obviously, a far weaker financial position than at the same time last year ($363,667.28 weaker, to be exact). A decrease of that magnitude this time around could put the budget gap close to $1 million ($916,324.81, to be precise, which amounts to 4.4 percent of the entire General Fund budget for the fiscal year).

Now the city is not about fo plunge into some kind of financial abyss — there’s plenty in the city’s reserves to compensate for these losses. But I’m convinced efforts should be made to find ways to reduce expenditures in the current budget and one area I would start with would be to institute a hard hiring freeze for the remainder of the fiscal year, or until such unlikely time before Sept. 30 when the city’s sales tax receipts are back on the plus side. The city seems to be functioning quite well with the employees currently on the payroll, so there’s no reason to supplement that number by filling any empty FTEs — whether they be new positions or those lost to attrition — between now and the end of the fiscal year.

Again, you can read the entire sad tale of the city’s sales tax receipts here.