The board of the Jekyll Island Authority approved a budget Tuesday that’s about $3 million less than last year’s spending plan.

The board held a special called virtual meeting to approve the budget, which it discussed in-depth June 16.

Board members approved the budget on the eve of Jekyll’s new fiscal year with little discussion after hearing highlights of the proposal.

The $27.5 million budget for fiscal year 2021-22 was created during a time of a revenue downturn on Jekyll due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Jekyll does not receive funding for operations from the state, the budget met with the 10-11 percent cut suggested for all state departments by Gov. Brian Kemp.

JIA furloughed 43 percent of its staff earlier in the year to reduce costs as island revenue plummeted. The plan is to bring all staff back before summer’s end, said Jones Hooks, JIA executive director.

“We’re hoping to have all of our staff positions that are going to be a part of this new budget back by the end of July,” he said.

The proposed budget does not anticipate fee increases. It eliminates nine positions but adds two new positions.

Jekyll had around $300,000 in a reserve fund at the beginning of June.

Traffic numbers and revenue during the past month exceed what officials had anticipated at the outset of the pandemic, when hotels and businesses closed for many weeks.

“We have had a June so far that has been outperforming what we had anticipated,” Hooks said.

The budget does not include salary increases, nor does it include the annual Shrimp & Grits Festival, which JIA canceled for 2020.

More from this section

The Fourth of July was celebrated throughout the Golden Isles on Saturday. In the St. Simons village, decorated golf carts were decked out in red, white, and blue as they made their way down Mallory Street during the annual Fourth of July golf cart parade. People also checked out the arts an…

A visitor would be hard-pressed to find a better place to practice COVID-19 induced social distancing during the Fourth of July weekend than the historic cemetery at Christ Church on St. Simons Island.