Mayors across the US are seeking a total of US$250 billion from the federal government to cover a wide range of critical activities needed to stem the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and bolster city services and economies.
The US Conference of Mayors sent the request in a letter to the US Congress which is deliberating the next phase of the federal government’s response.
The request includes resources for public health departments, displaced workers, small business support, food insecurity, and existing federal programmes.
The letter to federal lawmakers says: “Direct fiscal assistance to cities will ensure that mayors can continue to provide vital public services (including public safety, water, sewer, solid waste, and municipal electricity) and that local governments are not forced to make cuts that further exacerbate the economic impact of this crisis.”
The mayors say that because the White House’s “All of America” approach will be “locally executed” and “federally supported” they need billions for emergency fiscal assistance as quickly as possible.
“This funding will support those most critically impacted by the crisis–financially vulnerable residents, small businesses on the margins, and community-based organisations–and will protect public health, human services and the economy in this extraordinary time,” says the letter.
Some examples of uses of the funding include:
- Covering all additional necessary costs incurred by cities;
- Supporting personnel costs in public health departments;
- Procuring personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Providing tax relief for workers and debt relief for all with mortgages, student loans, and small business loans;
- And providing funding to transit systems to cover lost fare revenues.
Johns Hopkins University reports that, at the time of publishing, the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the US is 7,324 across all 50 states with 115 deaths.
The full version of the letter can be read here.