CHICAGO (CBS) — More than $2 trillion in additional aid was announced Thursday by the Federal Reserve.
It’s to help stem the economic bleeding caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes loan monies set aside for municipalities that are confronting big losses from all sorts of uncollected taxes.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole learned just how deep the wounds are for some communities.
Dawn Okamoto has tried to shift sales of her antiques to her website, but that has its limits.
“It was just the abrupt one day. We are closed. That was it. We are closed. We are shut down. Zero sales,” Okamoto said. “It was never a portal for purchases.”
Sales remain as fragile as the collectibles she sells in Evanston, and she knows most communities are feeling an impact from the COVID-19 economic downturn.
“We don’t sell, they don’t get sales tax,” Okamoto said.
Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen spoke candidly about the sales taxes and fees no longer coming in.
“We are flying blind in all of this. We just don’t know,” Van Dusen said.
“Car dealerships, food and beverage, motor fuel, amusements, building permits. Conservatively we think we are going to take at least 20% hit in revenue,” he added.
In Skokie with a $125 million annual budget, the gap could total $25 million dollars. If it happens…
“We would have to consider making some kind of cuts,” Van Dusen said.
Federal aid for the coronavirus crisis in Illinois cities currently totals $2.1 billion. But how to qualify is still being worked out. The Federal Reserve announced $2.3 trillion loan package that could also help communities.
Still, there’s concern federal aid might not be enough. Van Dusen said city services could be affected.
“Everything will have to be on the table at least temporarily,” Van Dusen said.
Don’t expect any cuts in police or fire protection, but Van Dusen says twice weekly garbage and recycling could be scaled back. Expect a halt on city jobs, and the undoing of Skokie’s property tax freeze.
“We don’t know how many businesses are going to reopen fully. Some may not reopen, Van Dusen said.
Okamoto knows the concerns are universal and impact how any community can weather this storm.
“This is only exasperating the situation, and yeah it’s a big concern,” she said.