The City of Mesa announced today continued proactive measures targeting the community spread of COVID-19. Those steps include adjusting the availability and staffing of public facilities and modifying library, recreation and art programs. Projections show public health impacts from the virus could continue through the end of May with City revenue ripple effects lasting for several months. In addition, departments have been asked to develop plans for incrementally ramping up facility access and programming as health and budget restrictions allow.
The Mesa Arts Center, Convention Center, Amphitheatre, museums, recreation centers, sport complexes, and libraries originally closed in mid-March following state and national executive orders and recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS). Arts center classes, library and recreation programs including aquatics have also been put on hold until further notice.
"These are unprecedented times for our community with far-reaching effects that will be with us for some time. In all cases, our priority is the health and safety of our residents." Mesa Mayor John Giles said. "Libraries, arts, culture and recreation have always been an important part of our community. They help build character, creativity, teamwork, physical and mental health and support local businesses. We are committed to bringing them back as soon as possible."
The City began looking at the financial ramifications of COVID-19 in March when the Spring Training season was cancelled, and formal government declarations began closing businesses and operations. Resulting sales tax losses continue to grow as the pandemic and related physical distancing orders enter week five. Additional actions recommended by staff include cancelling all salary and market study increases, reducing capital projects for one-time savings, and using a portion of City reserves.
"Because of what we went through in 2009, during the last economic downturn, we knew that we needed to take decisive actions early on to minimize the long-term financial drain on the City budget." City Manager Chris Brady said. "These are uncharted waters with many unknowns, but what we do know is that these strategic actions which are based on data and trend analyses, though difficult for everyone, will keep us in a more stable position going forward."
Staff indicated they will be conducting reviews of both CDC and AZDHS recommendations, executive orders and the City's financial health every 30-days looking for opportunities to expand facility availability and modified programming in all affected areas.
For more information about the City's budget visit www.mesaaz.gov.
Public Information and Communications
Contact: Steve Wright