Mayor Nadine Woodward breaks down what’s ahead for Spokane in the fight against COVID-19
SPOKANE, Wash. — Just months after moving into the mayor’s office, Nadine Woodward is now facing a crisis no one could have predicted.
COVID-19 is spreading across the world and getting a handle on the disease has proven challenging for even the country’s most seasoned leaders, much less someone with no leadership experience, like Woodward.
“We look at it day by day and week by week,” she says. “We’ll get to the other side of the health issue. How are we going to get on the other side of the economy issue?”
Local business has taken a hit and will continue to suffer for at least another month. When Gov. Jay Inslee extended Washington’s stay home order to May 4 to slow the spread of COVID-19, which is set to deliver yet another blow — this time, to the city budget.
“A third of our budget comes from sales tax revenue, right?,” she says. “So we’re not getting the sales tax revenue we would if we had a robust economy if our businesses were open and people in Spokane were spending money.”
But some people in Spokane barely have enough money to pay rent. Woodward tells 4 News Now the city is looking into assistance programs for renters and small businesses.
“We’re looking at programs that will help business owners get loans — loans that they may not be able to qualify for because they don’t have capital,” Woodward says.
Right now, Woodward says layoffs are not an option at City Hall. In an effort to make up the difference, the city is cutting costs where it can but the fight against COVID-19 is not cheap.
“We’re hoping that a lot of the money we’re spending on the COVID response, we will be reimbursed, but oftentimes, you don’t get 100% reimbursement, so that’s a cost we have to consider as well,” Woodward says. “The COVID emergency will peak and we’ll be ready for it.”
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