Mayor Reports on COVID-19 Testing, Operations, Finances, Economic Development, Federal Help


During the Vermilion City Council Meeting on Monday, May 4, 2020 Mayor Forthofer provided the following reports:

City Operations

The Administration is planning to safely bring home working employees back to City Hall and eventually reopen the building to the public. We are waiting for more guidance from the Governor’s office and local health departments. I am also conferring with other municipalities. 

COVID-19 Testing

I am often asked when there will be COVID-19 testing in Vermilion. None is planned by Erie County Health. If you want to be tested, call the Firelands Regional Medical Center. You must have a doctor’s order. 

Service Organizations

Credit is due to our service organizations Main Street Vermilion and the Chamber of Commerce for the aid they have been offering our business. These organizations have been virtual supplements to our own Administration by offering businesses financial assistance, reopening strategies and keeping business names in the public consciousness. Many thanks to these organizations. 

Economic Development

Started projects continue. George’s Roofing has renovated its new headquarters on Liberty. It will be demolishing the old apartments in the next few days to make room for new projects. The deli on Liberty and Grand River is under renovation. Large new prospects are out there. 

Finances

All governments are bracing for the reduction in revenues due to the shutdown. Most local governments are predicting shortfalls in the 20 – 30% range but the full effect may not be apparent until well into next year. Finance Director Hendricks will provide detail, but the City’s big financial picture is this. 

• The past two years we have gotten our financial house in order and become stable and began making investments in City projects that move us forward. 

• This year, if we suck in our gut, with continued cost reductions, we may end the year solvent if we freeze spending and take whatever steps we can to reduce expenses. 

• Next year will be the cold-water bath as wave of revenue shortfalls breaks over us. 

I detest operating the City in retreat mode. We’ve been making progress. But these self-imposed national slow down dictates that we have no choice other than spending the next seven months preparing ourselves for austerity. 

Federal Help

The latest round of Federal government relief is called the CARE Act. Among other things, it gives Governor DeWine some millions to help support municipalities. The money allocated to municipalities is limited to those with population 500,000 and over. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur has requested that the Governor allocate the revenues by population density which would give Vermilion half a chance at seeing some relief money. All indications are that it won’t happen. Our best chance at Federal relief will be when Congress fires up the money printing presses and passes the next round of relief.