LETTER: COVID-19 & the Framingham Economic Consequences

Editor’s Note: The authors of this letter also submitted to the 11-member Framingham City Council along with SOURCE media. The headline was updated on April 21 before the op-ed was published in the morning newsletter.

***

FRAMINGHAM – The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated our country on both health and economic fronts. The economic consequences of the pandemic are so serious that economists and experts have shifted their vocabulary from use of the word “recession” to “depression” (as in The Great Depression).
 
As this crisis progresses, cities and towns that have prepared and taken decisive action will be most economically resilient.

Former City Councilor Cheryl Tully Stoll has published an opinion piece in the Framingham Source in which she recommends budgetary steps the City of Framingham should take at this critical time.

We are concerned that there have been no public statements or policy directives–no evidence of leadership–from Framingham’s City government when it comes to this matter.

The agenda for the Framingham City Council Finance Subcommittee remote meeting held on Tuesday, April 14, included “Discussion on Impact of COVID-19 on FY20 and FY21 Budgets” but neither Mayor Spicer or Chief Operating Officer Thatcher Kezer bothered to participate or weigh in.

These are not normal times – we are in a state of emergency – and the Mayor should be prepared to lead.

The following are fiscal measures that should be implemented by the City of
Framingham at this critical time: 

  • There should be no property tax increases 
  • There should be no capital expenditures
  • There should be a freeze on all new job hires (except health and safety positions) 
  • There should be no raises or salary increases for City employees going forward
  • There should be no travel budget expenses in this time of social distancing and staying at home

Again, these are not ordinary times. The financial crisis and economic upheaval unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic are affecting our entire country and world.

As with an earthquake, we are experiencing aftershocks, but it is predicted there will also be a tsunami. With local, state, and federal funding shrinking, cities and towns will be hard-hit. Given the apparent lack of urgency evidenced at the recent City Council finance subcommittee meeting, it seems the City of Framingham is waiting for the tsunami to overwhelm us.

But leadership calls for proactive, not reactive, measures.

To act only when things become dire will be potentially disastrous for Framingham and create additional suffering for its already stressed citizens.

Alida Young, Ph.D.
Judith Grove former Framingham City Councilor, District 8

editor

email: editor@FraminghamSource.com call or text at 508-315-7176

Translate »