TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- As the stay at home order continues, fewer dollars are flowing through our local economy, in turn affecting city budgets. Both mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette agree that COVID-19 will have a significant impact. Mayor Tony Roswarski estimates the city of Lafayette has already lost two million dollars. However, planning for the future is difficult since at this point in time the future is unclear.
"Our hope is that we'll be able to maintain services and staffing that we have always had, but I can't guarantee that I don't think any elected official can," said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis.
With a decrease in spending on local businesses, sales tax revenue is down, and with unemployment numbers on the rise, cities have less income tax going towards the budget.
"Our budgets have to be balanced we can't run a deficit,” said Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. “We don't have that ability like the federal government does so everything has to be in balance."
The mayors say the hardest part about obtaining that balance, is that the future is unknown. Especially for West Lafayette whose population has changed due to the virus.
"We've lost half of our population,” said Mayor Dennis. “This has changed how we do businesses the one on one interactivity we've done with the police, fire, and our customer-oriented businesses have changed radically.”
However, the local government is doing its best to move forward with economic projects so when the lock-down is over, the economy can recuperate.
"We are continuing to do those things so when we can open up or even partially open up we are not behind,” added Mayor Roswarski. “We've kept moving within local government to ensure that we can try to recover as quickly as possible."
It's unclear what changes may come in the future, but city leaders say it’s important we all stick together during this unpredictable time.
"We are literally all in this together," added Mayor Dennis. "Those that provide services and those that receive services and if we continue to stay together we will get through this intact."
While Mayor John Dennis wasn't able to share any projects that will be pushed back, Mayor Tony Roswarski said the city had been planning on investing around 2 million dollars to renovate the Lafayette Theater, he says that project will now be pushed back. Both mayors say regardless of the economic impact essential services like police, fire, and sanitation services will not be affected.