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Downers Grove

Downers Grove receives estimated $2.5 million in CARES Act funding

DOWNERS GROVE - The village of Downers Grove has received an estimated $2.5 million in federal CARES Act funding to shore up a shortfall in projected sales tax revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,

The announcement came at the Oct. 13 village council meeting.

“Obviously, it’ll help,” Downers Grove Mayor Bob Barnett said. “We’re going to make it, spend off some reserve money and put off capital spending.”

The grant is designed to reimburse the village for public safety payroll costs between May 1 and Aug. 31.

However, the funding does not go far enough to shore up the shortfall the village is experiencing, officials said.

Barnett said the village had fallen $6-8 million shy of its budgeted projections for revenue in 2020.

The village developed a financial response plan upon identifying the pandemic as a crisis, officials said. It involved estimating revenue losses and working to maintain current municipal service levels to ensure residents do not experience disruptions.

Barnett said the village made cuts, reduced expenses, postponed investments and used cash on hand out of the reserve fund.

“We took all four of those avenues and used them in varying degrees to try to manage continued operations,” he said.

He added that the village has maintained current service levels to ensure residents are not impacted by changes at the municipal level.

Downers Grove has a track record as a lean organization, which Barnett said speaks to the village’s ability to do more with less staff.

The village has not turned to laying off employees because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

“In some instances, we chose not to fill some positions that became empty as part of the attrition process,” Barnett said. “Our organization is very, very lean.”

The village has not secured other financial assistance to help navigate the coronavirus pandemic, officials said. The allocation of grant funding is administered and provided by DuPage County and is available to every municipality in the county on a per capita basis.

Barnett said he thinks the grant will help the village move a bit closer to balancing the economic impact of COVID-19 to the village’s year-end financial outlook.

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