More than 2,100 US cities brace for huge budget shortfalls that will lead to thousands of layoffs, cuts in vital services and less cops on the streets during the coronavirus pandemic

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
By Paul Martin

2,100 US cities are bracing for huge budget shortfalls that will lead to thousands of layoffs and cuts in vital services
Study from the National League of Cities and the US Conference of Mayors shows 90 percent of cities are preparing for revenue shortfall
1,100 cities are preparing to scale back their public services, and 600 say they may have to lay off some government workers as a result of lower budgets
1,000 cities say it will affect police departments and essential public safety
Cities with less than 500,000 residents are exempt from $2.2 trillion bailout
This includes virus hotspots New Rochelle, Miami and Kansas City
Cities fear they will be empty-handed and left with no choice but to cut already strained public services such as city police forces and up taxes
States and cities are urging Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to ensure the relief fund money is fairly distributed across US communities

By RACHEL SHARP
DAILYMAIL.COM
14 April 2020

More than 2,100 US cities are bracing for huge budget shortfalls that will lead to thousands of layoffs, cuts in vital services and less cops on the streets during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cities with less than 500,000 residents – including virus hotspots New Rochelle, Miami and Kansas City – have voiced fears that the federal government’s $2.2 trillion bailout package will leave them empty-handed, because of the rules of the fund’s allocation.

This means less than 0.5 percent of all municipalities are eligible for the funding, and so the money may only reach 14 percent of the US population.

Public services such as city police forces are already buckling under the strain of the pandemic, with officers off sick from the virus, spikes in crime in some areas, and rising demand for cops patroling the streets to enforce lockdown rules.

Fears are mounting that budget cuts and job losses could now spark longer-term implications on cities and counties than the pandemic itself.

Several mayors and local officials are warning that the $2.2 trillion package will not go far enough in delivering aid to cities and areas across the US, according to documents and interviews with local officials representing around 93 million Americans released Tuesday.

Almost nine in 10 cities, ranging from smaller cities with populations of less than 50,000 residents to the biggest metropolitan areas in the country, have said they are preparing for a revenue shortfall, revealed the worrying research from the National League of Cities and the US Conference of Mayors.

More than 1,100 cities are preparing to scale back their public services, and 600 say they may have to lay off some government workers as a result of lower budgets.

More than half of all cities of all sizes warned that local police departments and other essential public safety agencies will be affected.

‘There’s no question that the coronavirus pandemic has had, and will have, a major impact on cities of all sizes,’ Clarence Anthony, the executive director of the National League of Cities, told the Washington Post.

The findings give a bleak picture of the extent to which the government’s emergency coronavirus bailout falls short in supporting local economies and cities.

The National League of Cities and the US Conference of Mayors have joined officials of several cities in pleading with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to ensure the relief fund money is fairly distributed across US communities as the package has been deemed to favor areas with higher populations.

Smaller cities have found themselves ineligible for the Coronavirus Relief Fund altogether.

Under the rules of the package, states, counties and larger cities with more than 500,000 residents can apply directly to the Treasury Department for cash infusions of $150 billion.

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