We are in a situation as a nation the likes of which we have not faced since the Spanish flu epidemic one hundred years ago that killed about 675,000 Americans. While the extent of infections and death toll cannot be estimated with any accuracy until widespread tests can be made which likely will not happen until June or July some epidemiologists have made estimates of infections of 160 million and deaths of up to two million unless drastic lifestyle changes are made.
If the statistics gathered when widespread testing can be done support even ten percent of these numbers clearly the government will have to take even more drastic steps than the current ones and will result in a total disruption of the economy resulting in a deep recession and possibly a depression. Laguna Beach is dependent on the free flow of people without which the city revenue would plummet since a significant part of that revenue is based on sales and bed taxes. Therefore the responsible thing to do is curtail all non-essential expenditures until we have visibility as to the totality of the pandemic and its impact on the economy. Let us not waste the reserves in the city treasury because that rainy day has already begun.
I am requesting that the city council immediately examine all proposed expenditures and not fund any item that is not essential to the health and safety of the residents. Contracts such as one to study a parking structure which has already been soundly rejected is an example of unnecessary expenditures. With elections soon to be upon us I am sure this will be a major topic since it looks like the virus situation could have a devastating impact on our revenue while our necessary expenditures cannot result in a corresponding reduction. Therefore the prudent thing to do would be analogous to what most of us are now doing, The city must “hunker down” with respect to spending.
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