Colorado- As US House approves latest COVID-19 relief package, cities and counties are left wanting

While the U.S. House votes on a fourth COVID-19 relief package to the tune of $484 billion on Thursday, the measure lacks the aid for cities and counties that are losing revenue and making decisions to lay off or furlough employees.

The Colorado Municipal League, Colorado Counties Inc. the state Department of Local Affairs and the Special District Association conducted a survey, releasing those results Thursday, that said while cities, counties and towns have an average of 6.7 months in operating reserves, they anticipate having to draw them down to cover operating budgets.

That’s due to losses of sales and use tax, which have been drastically reduced by business closures and stay-at-home orders, according to a CML statement. The state Department of Revenue said that 82% of municipalities have sales and use taxes. The municipal respondents also claim they will lose revenue from utility charges and fees, lodging taxes and licenses and permits.

COVID-19 has hit in other areas, as well, according to the survey: more sick and administrative leave, the need for technology for employees to telecommute, overtime, and medical supplies or other pandemic-related expenses. Collectively, the survey said the municipalities will spend nearly $500,000 on COVID-19 response and recovery.

Without aid from Congress, survey respondents said they will delay capital projects and equipment purchases, enact hiring freezes and furloughs — something Boulder has already done and that Denver is contemplating — and plan for layoffs.

For more information: ColoradoPolitics

Colorado politics
By: Marianne Goodland
April 23, 2020