Airport standstill puts hit on Wayne County's budget

With a budget that's been choked by the coronavirus, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is putting forth a hiring freeze and immediately suspending new contracts.  
He says he sees a significant shortfall with the county's future revenue. 

"It will be a long time coming before it gets back to a degree that would certainly help the county's finances. On the short term, we've got it tough. It's also going to be very hard for people as you see in other states. They reopen restaurants, well, people aren't so sure if they're ready to go," Evans said. 

Another issue for the county is the fact that the airport is at a standstill, with a 90% reduction in flights for Delta. But for the county that means money flying out of their hands, grounding a huge chunk of their budget. 

"Part of the county's revenue comes from parking at the airport so we know we have a long climb back, and what we are trying to do now is stabilize and look at what are the things that are essential for us to do going forward, regardless of what happens," Evans said. 

And then there's the nursing homes. The toll has been steep and so the health department is being dispatched to see who needs what.  

"A large number of the coronavirus cases and deaths come from the nursing homes, and not hard to figure out [why]. There is advanced age and many people have underlying issues. But it brings up the issue which is, are we doing everything we can to make sure that those who are really vulnerable are taken care of and the appropriate supplies are available for the nursing homes? So our health department has been making checks of the nursing homes based on the data of the nursing homes that have had more of an outbreak than others."

The CARES Act money goes to help issues dealing with coronavirus and can't be applied to all of the budget's shortfalls. There are many other things, like parking revenue, that when lost can't be boosted with the federal money.