CADILLAC — The COVID-19 pandemic has been many kinds of crises.
Health. Economic. Governmental.
A recent survey from the University of Michigan's Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy focused on the third.
The annual survey "usually focuses first on the fiscal health of local jurisdictions " but was retooled this year "to also gather information about COVID-19's local effects, including emergency preparedness, intergovernmental coordination and the pandemic's local impact."
Nearly everybody says it's been a crisis.
Survey results show "majorities of local leaders reported significant or even crisis-level impacts on the state overall (93%), local schools (88%), local economic conditions (86%), their residents' welfare (70%) and their own communities overall (67%)," according to a news relase.
Similarly, there were significant or crisis-level impacts onlocal emergency response capabilities (43%), public health in their community (42%), the continuity of their own government's operations (40%) and their delivery of public services (37%).
Among local government managers in the Cadillac News coverage area, keeping up with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders has been among the biggest challenges (there have been 143 in 2020 as of July 2).
"Trying to keep up with the governor’s numerous EOs related to the pandemic has been time consuming and has added significantly to workload," said Precia Garland, county administrator in Missaukee County.
Though some grants have been made available "to assist with direct COVID costs," applying for the grants also means more administrative time to both apply for and use the money.
Moreover, the grants "So far don’t address the greater concern now, which is what impact will COVID have on local and state government finances?" Garland said. "Work is currently underway on the FY21 budget and we are planning for decreases in revenues and reductions in expenses.
Marcus Peccia, city manager of Cadillac, also said that the governor's executive orders were challenging.
"Providing services to the public are also a main concern, but we were adequately able to keep our doors open virtually, and now we're back open physically too," he noted.