The City Council will hold a public hearing on the 2020-2021 budget, and hear a report on the City gift card program at its Monday night meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Also on the meeting:

•Approve spending $537,000 to establish a gift card program that would benefit local businesses and residents. The program would give a household a $25 card to spend at a Merced business, with $250,000 coming from the Central Valley Opportunity Fund.

•Present a report to Council on the City’s efforts to combat illegal fireworks during the upcoming celebration.

The Council will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. regarding labor negotiations and anticipated litigation.

The proposed $265.3 million budget is an increase of $10.8 million from last year to reflect the expansion of housing developments and the need to renovate and expand water and sewer services. The general fund budget is $43.9 million, a slight increase related to the $2 million Redevelopment Agency settlement payment that is the second of five payments that changes annually. The budget does include additional funding for the City Summer Playground Program and the Boys and Girls Club Summer Program.

The budget does not include any layoffs, but will delete one position and keep five other positions vacant. In addition, Department expenses were held to last year’s levels, and $1.1 million in one-time revenues were used to balance the general fund budget.

In-person Council Meetings have strict social distancing practices in place and the use of face coverings is encouraged. Seating in the Council Chamber will be limited and an overflow room will be available in the Sam Pipes Room with the same social distancing practices in place.

•Members of the audience who wish to address the City Council are requested to complete a speaker card available at the podium on the right-hand side of the Council Chamber. Please submit the completed card to the City Clerk before the item is called, preferably before the meeting begins.