Business shutdowns due to COVID-19 forcing local governments to adjust ahead of fiscal year budget setting

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Local governments are in the middle setting their budget for the fiscal year, but with little to no money coming in from sales and room occupancy tax, they could be pinching pennies for years to come.

“Clearly as a world we weren’t prepared for something like this on this scale,” said Wake County Commissioner Greg Ford.

As the world adjusts to a new normal it’s becoming increasingly obvious that nothing is immune from the impacts of coronavirus, and that includes Wake County.

“This will happen again, and we need to be better prepared,” said Ford. “If there’s ever a wake up call this is it.”

County Commission Chairman Greg Ford says Wake County has redirected a number of resources to the front lines, but he admits they’ve faced the same problem municipalities around the state.

“PPE’s have been a challenge to acquire at any level of government,” said Ford.

Those challenges have brought about some positive changes to the way the county does business.

“The ability to conduct more county business online has really provided some opportunities to look at how we look at leasing and building county spaces in the future,” said Ford.

While that could save taxpayer dollars in the long run it could also mean projects reliant on county funding, like the Cary Towne Center Redevelopment, could be tabled.

“It may not be a no, but it will certainly be a not now for some,” said Ford. “Quite frankly we’re going to have to re-evaluate our priorities with those funds.”

With that in mind Ford says he wants to make one thing very clear to his constituents.

“To raise taxes in this era would be irresponsible in my opinion,” said Ford.

Ford says the county is pushing back their deadline to make decisions on “medium projects” until late June in hopes that they have a better picture of the county’s financial health.

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