EASTON, Pa. – The Metropolis of Easton has supplied some small companies within the municipality loans, in response to Mayor Sal Panto.
The $170,000 in municipal loan cash, he mentioned, was issued to 21 companies all through the town.
“They got their checks within a week,” mentioned Panto. He mentioned every loan was at a mean of about $8100 per enterprise.
The small enterprise loan presents are a part of the town’s effort to help in midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has upended not solely the nationwide financial system but in addition native companies. Panto gave the figures on Tuesday as a part of Easton’s third digital city corridor assembly.
The town additionally supplied the 81 furloughed municipal staff who haven’t but obtained their unemployment checks $2,000 private loans via the municipal credit score. Curiosity on the loans might be paid for by the town, if the loans are paid off by the tip of the yr, Panto mentioned.
The town has been hit onerous financially for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic compelled closures in March. Panto mentioned they hope to have some staff return to work by mid-Might or June.
“We’re doing our best to close the gap on a $5.5 million expected shortfall,” mentioned Panto.
The shortfall equates to about 16 p.c of the town’s whole income. The town at the moment has a $5 million income reserve. However Panto mentioned the town might be trying to discover methods to fill that hole as a substitute of taxing residents.
“Our goal is to balance this budget this year,” mentioned Panto. “Fill in that gap, fix it now so that we don’t have to raise anything next year,” he mentioned. “But I can’t promise that.”
Easton Metropolis Fireplace Chief Mike Krill additionally supplied a COVID-19 replace for the town.
Krill mentioned there have been 1,970 confirmed circumstances and 80 deaths in Northampton County as of Tuesday. Of the 80 reported deaths, 11 have been Easton residents.
Krill mentioned whereas Governor Tom Wolf supplied steerage of decrease than 50 new confirmed circumstances per 100,000 inhabitants over a 14-day interval to be able to reopen the area, there stay a number of considerations.
“Right now, it’s still a matter of having to show signs of symptoms,” mentioned Krill. “The problem with that is when they set that 50 confirmed cases per 100,000, did they take into consideration as testing ramps up, we’re going to see more positives?”
Northampton County had a major spike in numbers after seeing a decline in circumstances over the previous few days. Based on Krill, there have been simply 64, 33, and 21 newly reported circumstances prior to now three days. However that quantity spiked to 136 newly reported circumstances as of Tuesday. It is a determine Krill believes could possibly be attributed to new reporting from Gracedale Nursing Dwelling.
“That significant of a jump is quite large,” mentioned Krill, including that the town will proceed to watch the matter to see if it was simply an anomaly or a development.
One more concern, Krill mentioned, was the “robust contact tracing” requirement. At the moment Northampton County has no public well being entity to handle this requirement.
“I am to assume that the state Department of Health will organize and dictate who will do tracing,” mentioned Krill. “It’s still a question to be answered.”