Rock Island could face $4 million budget shortfall because of pandemic

4 The Record

Mayor Mike Thoms hopes to avoid major spending cuts and higher taxes

This is the week we saw Illinois play catch up with Iowa in regard to its economy.

Governor JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan entered its fourth phase.

Almost every business can reopen with restrictions on how many people can be inside at a time.

All this is happening while Rock Island County and Scott County report more cases of the coronavirus this week, especially among young adults.

The different schedules for the two states generated wide disparities for businesses around the Quad Cities, depending on whether they operate in Iowa or Illinois.

Rock Island’s economy was already challenged before the pandemic.

The public health crisis only made things worse for the city that’s trying to expand business opportunities.

The city canceled its share of Red, White and Boom.

There will be no Labor Day parade.

The Rock Island Grand Prix also was canceled.

The city relies on sales tax revenue for a significant part of its general fund.

Businesses forced to shut down or operate at very limited capacities make a big dent in that.

Rock Island is producing a series of videos in conjunction with the development association to promote the city.

It’s called Rock Island Resilience and is part of a social media campaign on the city’s Facebook page.

The first video features the accomplishments of students in Rock Island schools.

The next video will focus on bars and restaurants and their ability to be creative during the pandemic.

Rock Island’s not alone.

The City of Moline is facing a multi-million dollar shortfall because of the pandemic.

The Quad-City Times reports Moline schools could be almost $2 million short.

Rock Island expects to have a budget gap in the millions as well.

I had a conversation with Mayor Mike Thoms this week about the impact the public health crisis is having on his city.

We’re seeing local governments and school districts in Illinois struggle financially during the pandemic.

Some to the tune of millions of dollars in budget shortfalls.

Thoms discussed how serious it is for Rock Island, what it has meant so far in terms of lost jobs and reduced services, how much it hurts to lose the Rock Island Grand Prix, how much an earlier relief package from the federal government helped the city and if Rock Island needs more money from Congress.

Watch the full conversation in video above.

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