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Ft. Wright Discusses Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Budget Forecasting

The City of Ft. Wright is still functioning, even though the city building is closed to the public, City Administrator Jill Bailey said. She is working on the budget for the next fiscal year that begins on July 1, and evaluating salaries.

Mayor Dave Hatter said during a virtual meeting of city council this week that the Kentucky League of Cities projects that cities could see a 25-percent hit to their budgets due to economic inactivity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hatter, though, said that he did not see such a loss hitting Ft. Wright.

Bailey estimates that Ft. Wright could see a budget shortfall of between $600,000 and $700,000 in the first two quarters, but Hatter said that it isn't so much a shortfall as it is the timing of tax revenue coming in.

Meanwhile, Fire Chief Steve Schewe reported that an ambulance is having mechanical difficulties. The city is borrowing one from Kenton County. 

Schewe said that his department has enough personal protective equipment (PPE) during this COVID-19 pandemic and that the community has thrown its arms around first responders - figuratively, of course. Some citizens have donated food, and even masks for first responders.

Police Chief Ed Butler said that the department is fully staffed and healthy. He also announced the promotion of Officer Robert Griffin to sergeant.

Public Works director Jeff Bethel said that the right-turn lane project at Kyles Lane and Dixie Highway is going well, and when it's finished, workers will construct a turn lane on the other side of Kyles. 

All city-sponsored April events have been canceled, but no official action has been taken yet on May events.

Mayor Hatter encouraged citizens to complete their U.S. census forms and send them back. The city has a participation rate of about 65 percent, compared to 51 percent for all of Kenton County, and 49 percent nationally.

On Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny was spotted around town on a city fire truck.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor