Lewisville is cancelling all city-sponsored public events, including an Independence Day fireworks show, through late September due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
City officials made the announcement Tuesday saying they were making the unprecedented move due to budgetary concerns and the uncertainty of when restrictions will be lifted on large-scale gatherings.
"This is a very difficult decision to make," said City Manager Donna Barron. "From a budget standpoint, we're at a point where we must choose between cutting programs or cutting people, and we felt it best to cut programs in order to retain our employees. The employees help make these programs so successful."
City officials said revenue from the hotel occupancy tax, which is down nearly $1 million due to the pandemic, pays for the special events. Events that are cancelled include:
- KTA Jam Session (May 8)
- St. Paddy's Texas Style (May 23)
- Fiesta Charra (May 30)
- Sounds of Lewisville Concert Series (June and July)
- Sounds of Red, White and Lewisville concert
- Old Town fireworks show (July 3)
"I feel bad for residents who enjoy coming out to these events," said Mayor Rudy Durham in a prepared statement. "These events allow people to enjoy the moment. They're a chance to bring the family out for some fun and games and good music and forget about the outside world for a little while."
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
The change means the next city-sponsored event on the calendar is the annual Western Days event which is scheduled for Sept. 25-26. Should the need arise to cancel that event, too, city officials are prepared to either reduce the event to one day or cancel it outright if necessary. A final decision on that event will not be made until early June.
"It's unfortunate we're at this point, but the health, safety, and well-being of our residents, staff, and volunteers is what's most important to us," said Barron. "When we are able to have large-scale public events again, we want people to come enjoy themselves without worrying about being around a large group of people."
City officials added that the cancellation of these events is just the latest cost-saving measure undertaken by the city, where revenue shortfalls due to the pandemic are in excess of $15 million.
Other cost-saving measure include:
- Reduction in funding for Capital Improvement Projects as well as one-time capital purchases
- All vacant positions are placed on hold for review by the City Manager prior to posting the position
- All purchases are reviewed by Finance and City Manager's Office prior to expending or encumbering funds
- Department line item savings
- Stoppage of all employee training and travel
- Delayed opening of Thrive
- Delayed renovation of the Lewisville Municipal Annex
Essential services to residents and businesses, including police, fire, and utilities, continue uninterrupted.