ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – With the coronavirus keeping baseball games from being played at Globe Life Field until this Friday, and store and business closures earlier this year, cities like Arlington are feeling the pinch.
Mayor Jeff Williams spoke out Wednesday during a conference call by the U.S. Conference of Mayors about the economic pain.READ MORE: 1 Injured, At Least 24 Units Destroyed After Fire At Fort Worth Apartment Complex
“Cities have been on the frontlines of this battle. We are being hit hard,” he said.
A new report by the Conference of Mayors shows the unemployment rate in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area rose from 3.3% last year to 8.1% this year.
The gross metro product, all goods and services produced in our area, is down nearly six percent this year from last.
As a result, Mayor Williams says the city has a $20 million budget shortfall between March and September and the city says despite its hiring freeze since March, furloughs have been and will continue to be an option to balance the budget.
“Painful budget decisions are coming down. Some of them have already had to make them and it is costing people their jobs and essential city services are being cut,” said Mayor Williams.
To help make-up for lost sales tax revenues, city and county leaders nationwide want Congress to provide billions of dollars in more coronavirus relief. Senate Republicans are set to introduce a relief bill.READ MORE: 'This Is Beyond Bullying': Justice Sought For Plano ISD Boy Allegedly Abused By Haggard Middle School Students
House Democrats passed legislation May 15 that provides a total of $375 billion for local governments.”
“It’s not a bailout. It’s actually helping communities with emergency services and medical services, but also to help us rebuild after this natural disaster has hit,” said Mayor Williams.
Local leaders worry, their budgets will suffer further next year, when not only sales tax revenues, but also property tax revenues could drop.
Earlier this month Texas Senator John Cornyn said where’s there’s a real need to help, the Senate will respond.
“We’re going to work with our mayors, and county judges, and the governor to see what the need is and where there’s a real need we will respond,” Sen. Cornyn said.
Democratic Congressman Colin Allred of Dallas urged the Senate to follow the House’s lead on this issue as soon as possible.MORE NEWS: Data Shows 66% Drop In Risk Of Contracting COVID-19 In Dallas County
“As budget revenues decline due to COVID-19, our local governments have been stretched thin. It’s critical they are able to continue to provide vital essential services to North Texans,” said Rep. Allred. The House passed the Heroes Act in May which included much-needed funding to help cities and local governments respond to this virus, and I urge the Senate to do the same ASAP.”