The Bottom Line - Fall 2020 - 29

OFFICE OF REVENUE ANALYSIS
HOW WE ARE SUCCEEDING

HOW THE OFFICE REVENUE ANALYSIS
HAS COPED AND IS COPING WITH
THE PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN AND
WORKING FROM HOME
By Fitzroy Lee, Deputy Chief Financial Officer,
Office of Revenue Analysis

T

he COVID-19 pandemic struck right at
the start of the budget season, when
the Office of Revenue Analysis (ORA),
along with much of the OCFO, are usually
engaged in the planning for the next budget.
ORA plays a major role right at the start of
the budget season as the February revenue estimate sets the spending limits for the
Mayor's budget. Whether it was good forward thinking or good fortune, at the direction of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO),
ORA staff had just completed scenario
planning for a recession, which the CFO
presented at the annual City Council retreat.
The plan identified financial resources that
could be harnessed to mitigate the impact
of a moderate recession on the District.
The week before the February estimate was
due, the stock market nosedived on fear of
supply chain disruptions as what was then
an epidemic raging in China. Despite indicators of strong national and local economies,

the February estimate left unchanged the
revenue estimate for FY 2021 and beyond,
while acknowledging strong FY 2020 growth
for income and real property tax receipts.
In March, the World Health Organization
(WHO) declared the COVID-19 a pandemic.
By mid-March, the Mayor had instituted a
lockdown and the delivery of the next fiscal
year's budget from the Mayor to the Council
was delayed.
I can't say that ORA did a lot of planning for
what happened next, as this is a once-in-alifetime event (we hope), but I can say that we
were prepared. More than a year before the
pandemic lockdown, ORA volunteered to pilot
the deployment of Microsoft Teams, a collaborative work platform that allows staff to communicate and coordinate workflow online. By
the time we were required to work from home
we were already organizing our workflow
around Teams, shifting most of our files to One
ORA CONTINUES

>

FALL 2020 | 29



The Bottom Line - Fall 2020

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