The CGMC recently conducted a survey to get a better understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic directly impacts cities. The survey was sent to a broad list of city officials, and responses were collected between March 30 and April 6. Of the 134 respondents, 99 cities were represented: 70 CGMC member cities and 29 non-member cities (several cities had more than one staff member and/or elected official from the city fill it out). Respondents were made up of 15 city councilors, 26 mayors, and 93 city staff members.

For a full summary of the results, please see this report that was shared with legislators and Gov. Walz.

When asked to check which potential impacts of the pandemic respondents found most concerning, the most common response was “business closures,” with 96% checking it as a top concern. Other top concerns included increased unemployment (82%), impacts on nursing homes and senior citizens (70%), and child care resources in the community (62%).

As to city expenses incurred due to the pandemic, 78% of cities said they have spent or will spend money to prepare employees to work from home. Other increased costs for cities include equipment purchases (59%), public safety (58%), and additional costs related to communicating with residents (57%).

Many respondents expressed concerns about local revenue streams being impacted by COVID-19. Of the responding cities, 70% listed that property tax collections would be impacted, 41% said lodging tax, and 23% said their local option sales tax. Other local revenue streams that respondents said may be impacted include municipal utilities, park and recreation fees, city-owned golf courses, and community centers.

The survey also allowed respondents to share comments on  additional concerns or needs in their communities. Some of the comments included:

  • “ICU healthcare is not available within 90-120 miles.”
  • “Both our Fire Department and First Responder unit are totally voluntary. What happens if one of our staff contracts the virus while or is told to quarantine themselves.”
  • “If our Main Street dies from a lack of operation it could be devastating to our community.”

Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey. Please continue to keep us updated on the challenges your city is facing related to COVID-19 by contacting CGMC Executive Director Bradley Peterson at bmpeterson@flaherty-hood.com.