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Mayor’s Corner: Taking the next steps with caution

As we enter the second month of the COVID-19 shutdown, we are beginning to see the signs of diverging public sentiment around many of the shelter in place restrictions. We see this divergence most dramatically at the state and national levels.

365体育投注I believe that we are fortunate in Yolo County that the cities and the county have remained united in our coordinated approach to the crisis.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to our community for helping us achieve a flattening of the curve.

365体育投注As the shelter in place restrictions are slowly loosened around us, it is important that we acknowledge that we are treading into unknown territory. A vaccine for prevention and robust treatment for the illness are not yet available. Within our communities, we have many who have significant risk factors for worsened outcomes should they contract the virus.

365体育投注And yet, the economic toll and social and psychological toll of the restrictions are real as well. The criteria for loosening restrictions are objective, yet it is subjective judgment that is being used to set what meeting those objective criteria will mean.

365体育投注I mention this to provide context to provide a reminder that the effects of COVID-19 can mean many different things to our residents. The loss of income, the inability to pay one’s bills — financial devastation — this is a real experience. The recognition that contracting this illness can be life threatening and may be life ending is also a real experience.

It is unclear whether the state and the regions are loosening the restrictions too slowly or too quickly.

What is clear is that as a city must make some prudent financial decisions to address the revenue shortfall we are facing. The city has lost significant revenue, primarily due to a dramatic loss of sales tax revenue. The city is not as dependent on sales tax revenue as some cities in our region. In most cases, this is a mixed blessing. However in our current situation, this is a positive fact.

The City Council gave support at its last meeting for the city manager and his team to begin working with the department heads and employee groups to identify cost-saving measures to address the revenue shortfall.

The revenue shortfall we are ultimately facing is unknown at this point. Will the loosening of restrictions result in a relatively quick return to “normal?” Or will opening up trigger a resurgence in cases prompting a second lock down?

365体育投注We are cautiously optimistic, but we must and will prepare for scenarios that do not have a speedy return to normal. We cannot risk planning based on overly rosy scenarios to discover only too late that insufficient action has been taken.

Unlike the federal government, the city is required to have a balanced budget. This makes it doubly important for us to identify and implement cost-saving measures now so that we may protect the essential services that the city provides to the community.

I am very optimistic that the City Council and the city staff will work together to identify cost savings to address the many possible scenarios we may face.

365体育投注The City Council and city staff are committed to charting out a course ideally to provide the best outcomes for our city, our economy and most of all for the well-being of every Davis resident.

— Brett Lee is the mayor of Davis.

CalMatters


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