WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – West Virginian communities are taking a big hit to their revenue according to a recent poll from the National League of Cities, and the pandemic slowdown is to blame.
From Wheeling to the smallest town, all are facing a revenue shortfall of 11.5 percent. Which means West Virginians could be getting cuts to basic life services: from slower 911 response times, to fewer EMS responders.
Jason Haswell, Managing Financial Director for The Monteverde Group: “But, the loss of tax revenue is massive for the municipalities in the state of West Virginia.”
Robert Herron, Wheeling City Manager: “We’re looking from anywhere between 15 to 21 percent on an annualized basis as to the anticipated revenue reduction we’re going to see as a result of this pandemic.”
Two months without work doesn’t sound like such a hard hit, but cities in West Virginia have already submitted their 2020 finance plan, and no-one could have prepared for a pandemic.
“This wasn’t a slowdown; this was a stop. So, you have several of these municipalities who are cutting back on their budgets”
Looking at the friendly city, Wheeling’s manager does not estimate eliminating services but what about reductions?
“Swimming pools, rec programs, and things of that nature will adhere to social distancing and CDC guidelines, but as far as police, fire, general services, I don’t see a reduction there. There could be a delay in services.”
Considering revenue loss by states for 2020; West Virginia is estimated to be down $153,663,000, but comparatively to New York (on camera: $26,305,646,000) it doesn’t seem to sting as bad. But, the Mountain State’s estimated 11.5 percent revenue loss will hit.
“We’ll start seeing the impacts real hard after July first.”
“You may see us make some of that back up into the late second, early third and fourth quarters.”
Assuming businesses get back up and running, the repercussions from the shut-down are predicted to last into next calendar year.
“We do have some reserve funds that we could tap into. I think that will come more in focus in July, August, once we start to see the full effects of one quarter of the pandemic, and how fast we can get back up to speed from an economic perspective.”
“The necessities first. And, as you phase back in here, try and put a little bit of money away in case we could have another wave.”
STEPHANIE GRINDLEY, DOWNTOWN WHEELING: Similar to the repercussions of the Great Depression, our habits may change following this pandemic. As work opens up, the financial advisor says it’s time to think saving like a squirrel, that 6-month emergency plan may be more important than ever.
Live in downtown Wheeling for 7NEWS, I’m Stephanie Grindley. Working for you.