Denison's streetscape renovation known as 'Designing Downtown Denison' is among the city projects facing possible delays due to COVID-19 concerns.
Denison City Manager Jud Rex said in a phone interview that the Main Street renovation project is among the capital improvement projects the city is having to take a hard look at with the ongoing health crisis. He said the city had already sent out the request for proposal. The city has put a hiring freeze in place. That affected the hiring of a construction manager
"We are taking a careful look at all of our capital projects planned for this year and next," Rex said. "We want to ensure funding sources are still in place and to make sure the economic changes taking place don't impact that. The recession we're heading into right now will like change what projects we're able to move forward with while trying to keep moving forward as much as we can."
Rex said he believes a lot of projects are going to be pushed back due to the crisis. He said the city is looking at which projects can move forward.
"There is no doubt the city's sales tax revenue will decline," Rex said. "We're waiting to see what our sales tax data will be like so we can project out what our budget will look like for the rest of the year and into next year as well."
Rex said the city does expect a decline to the general fund. The city began implementing measures including a hiring freeze and a 5 percent cut in expenses among city departments.
The city staff has been reduced to a minimum. The city facilities are closed, events have been canceled allowing the city to redirect where staff is placed. He also said there are some who are working from home, others who are home on reserve.
"Public safety, fire, police and dispatch are working as is," Rex said. "The EMT's have graduated from Grayson College and are working on shift. The timing of that worked out great for us. We're grateful for Grayson college accelerating that program. They are hitting the streets now. We have a few vacancies in both police and fire we feel good where we are right now."
Rex said police and fire personnel are working overtime shifts.
He said that the city is still keeping an eye on the need to issue shelter-in-place. Wednesday the city council passed a stay home, stay safe ordinance asking residents to adhere to the CDC guidelines of social distancing. He said so far businesses have been stepping up to do their part.
Another city facility that took a hit is the city library. It had been closed to the public but available for appointment only. That is no longer the case. The city is making resources available through its online resources.
He said the library is still helping provide seniors with tax forms for AARP to continue to provide that service. There is also staff at the library to answer questions for those who have them.