ROCHESTER, Minn. - It may be hard to believe but we're already half-way through 2020 and local governments are trying to get a handle on how significantly the coronavirus pandemic is impacting budgets for the year.
The city of Rochester says two big areas it’s been seeing impacts are licenses, specifically liquor licenses, and parking fines after the city halted ticketing drivers during the pandemic.
License examiner Christian Cartwright explained, “They're typically a decent chunk of money that the city can sometimes recoup in order to pay our employees, do maintenance, and all the associated cost that comes with just maintaining the downtown space and public works projects that are associated with it.”
Cartwright also says the city is at about 57% of what its normal license budget expectations are and that’s due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cartwright says liquor licenses expired on March 1st when the pandemic was in full-swing and some businesses weren’t able to pay their fees.
The city is now trying to figure out how this will all impact its budget.
“Figuring out where we can tighten our belts is my understanding,” said Cartwright. “What projects we could potentially put on hold, what CIP projects we might be able to forestall or put into the future and where we can essentially work with the state and federal government in terms of loans.”
The city is hopeful reopening will help the budget rebound but it will take some more time to better analyze the full impact.