LANCASTER (WCMH) — A bipartisan coalition of Ohio mayors is calling on Congress to provide emergency funding to help cities deal with the fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cities in Ohio rely heavily on municipal income tax revenue to fund critical city services making them more vulnerable to the coronavirus shutdown.
Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler says the city will get a clearer picture of the impact in the weeks ahead. “
Income tax collections from withholding runs a month behind so we haven’t felt any decrease yet,” Mayor Scheffler said. “April will probably be our first inkling of what the cuts might be. May will probably be a major hit.”
Scheffler joined mayors from Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, Parma, Findlay and Kettering on a press call Thursday morning to call for direct federal emergency stabilization funding for Ohio cities.
The response to the pandemic has forced many businesses to close and lay off workers. If people aren’t working, they’re not paying income tax.
In Lancaster, 78 percent of the general fund revenue comes from income tax collections.
“The Ohio Municipal League says or their experts predict the revenue losses for cities will be 20 to 40 percent,” Scheffler said. “That would be four to eight million dollars for us.”
Dayton, Cincinnati and Toledo have all announced furloughs for hundreds of city workers.
Scheffler says no city workers have been furloughed in Lancaster yet but cuts are coming.
“I have asked our department heads to rework their budgets, which were approved in December with 10 percent cuts,” Scheffler said. “We may have to go back to them later and say now do a 20 percent cut.”