Nearly 100 Texas mayors have signed a letter to lawmakers with one goal in mind: to secure additional federal funding for their cities.
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said his city, like so many others, is suffering. Arlington is projected to lose some $20 million between March and September, and it looks bleak even beyond that.
“It’s been a natural disaster just like a tornado, a hurricane, flooding,” Williams said.
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So, joining dozens of other mayors asking Congress to enact a fifth coronavirus relief bill just made sense to him.
“You wouldn’t leave a city without assistance after a tornado or hurricane or flooding,” said Williams. “Neither do we need to leave them without the assistance needed to rebuild here as this virus continues to work in very negative ways.”
Williams said Arlington relies heavily on the entertainment industry which has taken a huge hit.
“Both AT&T Stadium and our new ballpark have not been able to operate,” he said. “Six Flags is very limited in what it can do.”
In the letter, the mayors highlight the shortfall in tax revenue to the tune of $5.7 billion since the pandemic began.
Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer weighed in on the current situation in Texas.
“The challenge is that our dollars come in from sales tax and from property tax. All of which are paid for by the resident and consumers,” Stopfer said. “And the challenge you run into is that with what’s going on there’s a shortfall in those categories.”
Stopher said Irving’s hotel-motel tax has taken a hit. Hotel occupancy is down from 60-80% to 30% during the pandemic.
“We’re seeing less people come into the office which means there’s people not eating at the restaurants,” Stopfer said. “There’s not people flying in to do business, and so there’s not as much need for the hotels.”
He said cutting more services would mean more people out of jobs, making the economic situation worse.
“Each construction job that we can provide, as far as road work, provides two other jobs associated with that,” he said.
The mayors said without federal assistance economic stability throughout the state will be nearly impossible.
NBC 5 reached out to several members of the Texas delegation but did not receive a response Tuesday night.