July 21, 2020
FROM: Mayors of the North Carolina 10th Congressional District
TO: Congressman Patrick McHenry 2004 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman McHenry,
We, the undersigned mayors of 10th Congressional District, are writing to request your assistance in addressing the revenue shortfalls we all are experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
We thank you for your support of the CARES Act and its funding of state and local COVID-19 expenses. We know that these are difficult times for all levels of government and those who work to provide services to our citizens.
The CARES Act, though, will not help address the State and local revenue shortfalls created by the COVID-19 crisis. We need your support for federal legislation to address this need so that our communities can move forward and so that an economic downturn is not prolonged.
The greatest challenges moving forward for city governments are lost revenues due to the economic effects created by this crisis. These include declines in sales taxes and occupancy taxes, as well as water and sewer utility revenue due to industry slowdowns and because residents cannot pay their bills.
For example, Lincolnton has realized significant losses due to COVID-19 in both retail and utility revenues. Small businesses and restaurants have suffered significantly, and there is worry that many will not be able to overcome the loss of revenues. The decrease in sales tax revenues is projected to be 20%, amounting to $600,000, while utility revenues are down 31% from non-payments and reduced usage, or $325,000 per month. A 10% rate increase to paying customers will be necessary to recoup such losses. All the while, utility debt payments continue, including revolving loans through the state.
Tourist destinations, such as Tryon, are particularly suffering. Since the beginning of this crisis, the town has lost a bookstore, a restaurant, and a sale on a piece of property upon which to build a boutique motel. Other businesses are on the brink of collapse, and B&Bs and Airbnbs have seen few out-of-towners. The town is in dire need of assistance.
Cities and towns did not cause the situation that they now find themselves in; a global pandemic did. Their needs are neither Republican nor Democratic. Their needs are the needs of the citizens of our state, in small towns and in larger cities. On behalf of our citizens and businesses, we ask that you help North Carolina move beyond this crisis to a better day and support legislation that will address local revenue shortfalls and ensure a strong economic future.
We appreciate your consideration, and we would be glad to provide any additional information that you may require in considering this important request.
Mayor Esther Manheimer, Asheville
Mayor Becky Smith, Bessemer City
Mayor George Goosmann III, Biltmore Forest Mayor Don Collins, Black Mountain
Mayor Donald Robinson, Catawba
Mayor Peter O’Leary, Chimney Rock Village Mayor Shawn Brown, Claremont
Mayor Patrick McCool, Columbus
Mayor Noah Anderson, Earl
Mayor Hank Guess, Hickory
Mayor Scott Neisler, Kings Mountain
Mayor Carol Pritchett, Lake Lure
Mayor Alton Beal, Lattimore
Mayor Ed Hatley, Lincolnton
Mayor Sandy Railey, Lowell
Mayor James Robinette, Jr., McAdenville Mayor Tim Helms, Montreat
Mayor John Eargle, Mooresboro
Mayor Bryan Hough, Mount Holly
Mayor Jack Shytle, Polkville
Mayor Jimmy Dancy, Rutherfordton
Mayor O. Stanhope Anthony, III, Shelby Mayor Steven Denton, Stanley
Mayor Joseph Alan Peoples, Tryon
Mayor John Barrett, Jr., Waco
* Copies of this communication have been sent to Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.