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Des Moines loses estimated $25 million in revenue to COVID-19

Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders told Local 5 this will mean some infrastructure projects may be impacted.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines city officials have an idea of how much the COVID-19 pandemic has cost the city: an estimated $25 million. And that's just for this year.

With fewer residents spending money filling up the gas tank and at local businesses, the City of Des Moines estimates that in fiscal year 2022, the city will lose another $12.7 million -- a total of $37.8 million.

Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders told Local 5 this will mean some infrastructure projects may be impacted. 

"Some of our projects on the back end of our capital improvement plan out three, four and five years will have to be adjusted," Sanders said. 

This comes as Des Moines is taking on what Sanders called a historic amount of infrastructure projects from roadways and bridges to sidewalks and storm water sewers. Some will have to be scaled back.

Sanders says the pandemic has also impacted the city's plan for property taxes. He stresses they will not be going up, but they will remain at their current levels longer than expected.

"The hope and desire pre-COVID-19 was to continue lowering the property tax, and because of the loss of revenues, that will not occur in this next cycle," Sanders said.

As lawmakers in Washington D.C. continue talks on a COVID-19 stimulus plan, Sanders the help is more than welcome. He said Des Moines faces problems on two fronts: paying for additional expenses, and needs like assisting with resident's rent payments to avoid evictions, public transportation, utilities. All he said are at increased levels. The other front is the revenue losses. 

"We have no way to recover these revenues without going back to our taxpayers who are suffering right now with their own budgets, so we need the assistance of the federal government on both both sides of the equation," Sanders said.

The city will be hosting a Budget Education and Engagement workshop for residents on December 22 on Zoom to explain how they plan to tackle this problem.