COVID-19 to Cost DeSoto $1.8 Million, But City Remains Whole

City of DeSoto sign
City of DeSoto sign

The DeSoto City Council met the evening of September 15. City Manager Brandon Wright began the meeting presenting upcoming events. He announced that the shredding event was being cancelled and would be rescheduled. Virtual meetings to discuss propositions on the upcoming November election ballot will occur on September 29 and a second meeting on that subject will be on October 8, both scheduled to begin at 6 pm.

Census Deadline Approaching, Citizen Response Very Important

In the council comments portion of the meeting, Councilwoman Nicole Raphiel related that the Census response for the city thus far has been 72.5 percent. She said the committee working on the Census program were trying to increase responses by working with social media. Because the city has its own promotion coming up so she hopes more awareness and response can be generated.

In terms of economic development, Councilman Andre Byrd updated everyone on companies looking for locations and others seeking people willing to obtain franchises in the city. “Ace Hardware is scouting a place. Shipley Donuts is targeting our market,” Byrd said. In terms of franchises Freebirds, Torchy’s, Pet Supply Plus, Tropical Smoothie Café, WhichWich and Jersey Mike’s were all looking for prospective franchise owners/investors.

Mayor ProTem Kenzie Moore announced that the Chamber of Commerce would be holding a candidate forum on Thursday, September 24, at 7 pm. It will be on Zoom and Facebook Live. Moore watched the DeSoto ISD Board Meeting on Monday evening and said they were able to finish the meeting in 2.5 hours, which had been one of their goals. He expressed his opinion that A.J (Crabill) is doing a wonderful job with the board and the superintendent.

City to Refinance Bonds, Save Money

The city’s bond counsel, Andre Ayala discussed the bonds the city will be issuing in October and pointed out there would be no adverse financial impact due to the new issue. In fact, the city will save money (approximately $100,000 annually) with the re-issuance because of lower interest rates, he pointed out.

Tam Beatty, Assistant Finance Director, then made the August Financial Report for the city. A primary factor that is on the minds of most governmental entities in this year of COVID-19 is tax shortfalls. Ms. Beatty related that DeSoto did estimate a total shortfall of $1,878,781 by year end. She did say overall, new construction and increased values of properties helped to keep the city in a good position in relation to the budget. She told council the city was still on target to meet the year’s targeted budget, with costs up $722,266, grants collected of $719,220 and offsetting cost reductions of $370,000.

Councilwoman Dinah Marks asked about a line item of economic incentives, which Tracy Cormier replied the recipients of the incentives had been Tom Thumb ($450,000) and Fuzzy’s Tacos ($170,000).

Desoto Elections

Kisha Morris-Perkins made announcements concerning the November 3rd elections. She said council positions up for election include Place 2 and Place 4. The candidates for Place 2 will be Jean Green Frazier and Kay Brown Patrick. The candidate for Place 4 is Andre Byrd, who will be running unopposed.

There will be a special election for three propositions. Proposition A deals with the sales and use tax in the City of DeSoto. Proposition B is regarding City Council compensation. And, Proposition C is a Charter Amendment regarding the selection of the Mayor Pro-Tem.
City Staff will hold two informational meetings to provide further information on the election. Those meetings are on Tuesday, September 29 and Thursday, October 8th from 6 to 7 pm. These town hall meetings are for the citizens to learn more about the propositions. The meetings will be held virtually. Information will be provided in legal notices which will appear in Focus Daily News on Sunday, September 27.

Early voting will begin October 13th and continue through October 30th. It will take place at 901 N. Polk Street in DeSoto. More information will be available at and periodically in Focus Daily News.