City Administrator Elijah B. Rogers yesterday disputed predictions that the D.C. government faces a multimillion budget deficit this year by releasing revised spending and revenue estimates indicating the city would end the year with a $3.3 million surplus.
The new figures showed that while 1982 revenues would fall about $5 million short of earlier projections, the shortfall would be more than offset by $8.1 million in savings associated with the operation of Metro and reduced city spending.
Rogers said the surplus would be used to help reduce the city's $309 million accumulated debt, and that there would be no need to impose a freeze on hiring and purchasing or to reduce the current levels of city services in order to balance the budget.
"The District is on target in achieving a fully balanced budget for fiscal year 1982," Rogers told reporters who were called to his office. "All of this can be accomplished without restricting planned services provided to District residents, without any last minute tax increases and without any other emergency measures."
Copies of the new report were delivered to the City Council, which is scheduled to be briefed today on the city's financial situation by aides to the mayor, and to key members of Congress who have voiced concern about recent suggestions that the city was slipping into another financial crisis.
That speculation was triggered earlier this month by City Council member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), chairman of the Council's Finance and Revenue Committee. Wilson, noting recent shortfalls in revenues, predicted that the city would end the fiscal year Sept. 30 with a deficit of at least $20 million to $40 million. The D.C. Department of Finance and Revenue reported July 14 that June revenue collections were $7.6 million less than expected, driving the cumulative shortfall for the year to nearly $13 million.
Rogers said yesterday that the administration anticipates a $10 million shortfall in general sales tax, a $2.5 million shortfall in taxes on financial institutions and franchises and a $1 milllion shortfall in individual income taxes.
However, these would be offset by increases in other areas, including $8 million more in taxes on public utilities than originally anticipated.
"The revenue shortfall will amount to only three-tenths of one percent, an extremely small and very manageable portion of a $1.64 billion budget," Rogers said.
A key ingredient in Roger's surplus forecast is $6.3 million in projected savings for transportation services related to the operation of Metro.
D.C. Budget Director Gladys W. Mack said the city is entitled to $4.6 million in credits from Metro as a result of a recently completed Metro audit.
Also, the D.C. government cut back bus service and eliminated some bus routes, which resulted in a reduction in the city's overall subsidy cost.
"We did introduce quite a few changes that provided grief to passengers, but it was part of a general belt-tightening," said John Drayson of the D.C. Department of Transportation.
Drayson noted that Metro approved two fare increases last year that generated additional revenue and somewhat relieved the city's burden.