Louisville, Aurora and Tempe Among Cities Experiencing Fiscal Pain
Washington, D.C. – As the fiscal pain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage cities and towns across America, the United States Conference of Mayors is continuing to push for Congress and the Administration to make direct federal assistance available to all cities.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives took an important step towards providing this aid with the passage of the HEROES Act. While the legislation heads to the Senate, cities are being forced to make painful budget decisions, including furloughs, layoffs and cutting vital services during this public health crisis.
Below are examples from the Conference’s Mayors COVID-19 Fiscal Pain Tracker which illustrate the growing need for immediate federal assistance to all cities:
Aurora currently has a $20-25 million budget shortfall for this fiscal year, which has forced the city to furlough employees, cut services and pursue other cost-cutting measures. At a time when residents are even more dependent on city services, the city has been forced to close all library and recreation centers for the foreseeable future, as well as deferring, downsizing, or outright eliminating public works and water capital infrastructure projects. Aurora also implemented a city-wide hiring freeze, showing the extent to which this loss of revenue has impacted the city’s financial stability.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the Conference’s Vice President, reported that the budget shortfall the city faces is too large to be absorbed and will result in cuts across every Metro Government agency, including public safety. The city is expecting a COVID-19-related revenue shortfall of $46 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, followed by an estimated $69 million in the next fiscal year. 380 Metro public servants have already been furloughed, and without any direct federal assistance, the city is looking at further furloughs and possible layoffs in response to the budget shortfall.
The city of Tempe has experienced a sharp decline in revenue, posing a threat to the essential services the city provides. In a letter to Rep. Greg Stanton (AZ-09), Mayor Mark Mitchell noted that Tempe Municipal Utilities, which delivers drinking water, maintains critical water infrastructure and collects solid waste, needs federal support to ensure its services will continue unimpeded across the city. Mayor Mitchell also cited the economic losses Tempe is experiencing as a result of Arizona State University and Major League Baseball, both major economic drivers in the community, unable to operate normally due to the pandemic.