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Mississippi River mayors discuss COVID-19 impact upon their cities

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Mayors from all along the Mississippi River met virtually Tuesday morning to discuss their plans going into the fall and share ideas for how to deal with what they called the pandemic surge.

Mayors from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Louisiana spoke on the biggest issues facing their cities and states in the coming months. Most of the issues centered around budget struggles, as most of the mayors voiced concerns that COVID-19 related restrictions were cutting into the taxes that the cities rely on to fund services and staff.

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat voiced some concerns that without more federal support, cities will be challenged financially.

In a statement to WXOW following the meeting, Kabat said, "The lack of any direct aid to cities as part of the U.S. Senate’s latest stimulus bill is a serious problem. Our non-property tax levy revenues such as room taxes, fees and licenses are down significantly due to the economic downturn. These revenues are a large part of our operating budget, which funds all of our critical services including law enforcement, emergency response, streets, parks, libraries and general services." No furloughs or layoffs are planned at this time for any city employees.

The mayors agreed that they are hoping for some kind of federal support to soften the blow of expenses and make sure that city services continue uninterrupted.

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Emma Groscop

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