Welcome, newly-elected city council. Your first task? Fix the gaping hole in the city budget – not just for the final six months of this fiscal year, but for next year.

The state comptroller’s office reports that the city collected $20.2 million in sales tax revenue in March, $3.1 million less than budgeted (handy clip and save chart). That’s the least amount collected in March since 2003. (The months listed on the comptroller web site are, for accounting purposes, two months ahead. That means the May figure on the site is for March, the April figure is for February, and so forth.) For the year, we’re down $11.5 million, or 9.7 percent from the budget target.

The sales tax accounts for abut 20 percent of the city budget. Most of the rest comes from the property tax, and that revenue is also expected to decline. Sadly, most of the newly-elected city council will probably be the same people who voted for this budget in August, and are on record as saying it made fiscal sense.