Local governments worry about coronavirus costs, congressional intentions

Rural Parishes COVID Help

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Leaders of two parishes hope they don’t get left out as Congress continues trying to hammer out a new coronavirus relief package. They are having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for coronavirus safety measures and worry about big deficits.

“Across the country local government will have lost revenue up to $200 billion to deal with COVID,” said Tangipahoa parish president Robbie Miller.

Parishes like Tangipahoa have spent more than $1 million on things like plexiglass, hand sanitizers, and additional staff to keep things sanitary. That coupled with a decrease in sales tax revenues is creating concern.

“The locals didn’t get the money across the country to make them whole or help them keep up,” Miller said.

While Tangipahoa Parish Officials struggle with coronavirus cause north of the lake, the situation is equally concerning down on the bayou.

“We are at about the half-million dollar mark for PPE, increased sanitization, cleaning of the courthouse and cleaning of the jail,” said Lafourche Parish president Archie Chaisson, III.

The Lafourche Parish president says the downturn in the oil industry has also hurt the parish’s budget.

“Normally we’re collecting $160,000 a month for our June check was $27,000,” said Chaisson, referring to lost oil royalties.

Parish presidents hope Congress can provide relief soon, but they worry.

“The Partisan fighting has begun again and we’re seeing a lot of things being added rather than taking care of our citizens,” Chaisson said.

They say their needs are real and next year could be even worse.

Parish officials say while their sales tax revenues have declined, that situation may become bleaker in 2021 as more businesses shut down.

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