The fear of COVID-19 has caused a nationwide lock down. Many businesses have been shuttered and the unemployment rate soaring.
Although exact numbers and overall effect of the “stay at home” order on the economy won’t be known for months or years, Johnson County just furloughed more than 250 employees and Overland Park about 200.
At this point, neither Gardner or Edgerton have furloughed any staff.
“The city has not furloughed any employees and has no immediate plans to do so,” said Jim Pruetting, city administrator. “The general fund budgets of the county and Overland Park are much more reliant on sales tax revenues than Gardner is, so we have not been forced into taking similar action. We are, however, being proactive in our planning for contingencies down the road to protect the city’s short and long-term financial health, and all options are being evaluated as part of that process.”
Kara Banks, Edgerton public information officer, said Edgerton has not furloughed any employees.  “Staff has placed on hold the recruitment of four open positions,” she said. “While this does have a significant impact on our team, we felt it prudent to understand some of the financial implications of COVID-19 prior to continuing the recruitment processes.”
“The full impact on the budget is not yet known,” Pruetting said. “Much of the information regarding revenues is received from the state and county, and that information is delayed by a couple of months; therefore, we are still working on projections at this point. However, we have proactively taken steps to cut or postpone spending on non-critical items and believe we are well-positioned as a result to weather this crisis while we continue to deliver essential services to the community.”
Edgerton is waiting to see the impact of the crisis on the budget and anticipates it could be months or even years to see the full economic picture.  ”While we’re not heavily reliant on sales taxes, we are anticipating a decrease from our portion of the county’s sales taxes. It will be May or June before those tax payments are remitted,” Banks said.
Edgerton is carefully reviewing all projects and major purchases and compiling a report to provide to city council regarding approved capital improvement projects, Banks said. This report will include status of the project, budget update on any projected financial implications of COVID-19, and a recommendation from staff on prioritization of projects or possible delay of projects.
Any of the businesses at LPKC that have a tax abatement also have PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreements, so we fully expect we will receive that revenue as budgeted, Banks said. If the PILOT is not paid, the tax abatement can be revoked.
“The intermodal and the companies at LPKC are essential and critical not just for Edgerton, but for the entire region. “The workers at the warehouses, the truck drivers and everyone at BNSF are crucial to keeping our grocery stores, hardware stores, and even our homes stocked with essential items,” Banks said.