Due to the ongoing COVID-19 disease outbreak, the uncertainty of when restrictions will be lifted on large-scale gatherings, and major budgetary concerns, the City of Lewisville is cancelling all city-sponsored public events through late September.
“This is a very difficult decision to make,” said City Manager Donna Barron. “From a budget standpoint, we’re at a point where we must choose between cutting programs or cutting people, and we felt it best to cut programs in order to retain our employees. The employees help make these programs so successful.”
The City is facing an almost $1 million loss in revenue into the Hotel Occupancy Tax fund because of the COVID-19 disease outbreak. That revenue is what pays for these special events. If new or modified guidelines for large-scale gatherings are enacted, the City’s next public event will be Western Days, Sept. 25-26.
“I feel bad for residents who enjoy coming out to these events,” said Mayor Rudy Durham. “These events allow people to enjoy the moment. They’re a chance to bring the family out for some fun and games and good music and forget about the outside world for a little while.”
Events that are cancelled include: KTA Jam Session (May 8), St. Paddy’s Texas Style (May 23), Fiesta Charra (May 30), the entire Sounds of Lewisville Concert Series (June and July), and the Sounds of Red, White and Lewisville concert and Old Town fireworks show (July 3).
“It’s unfortunate we’re at this point, but the health, safety, and well-being of our residents, staff, and volunteers is what’s most important to us,” said Barron. “When we are able to have large-scale public events again, we want people to come enjoy themselves without worrying about being around a large group of people.”
A list of potential cuts for Western Days has been created, but a final decision on that event will not be made until early June. The list of potential cuts includes reducing the event to a single day or cancelling the event for 2020 if necessary. The City will announce updates on cityoflewisville.com as well as through its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
The cancellation of these special events is the latest cost-saving measure made by the City as it deals with major revenue shortfalls in excess of $15 million due to the COVID-19 disease outbreak. Some of the budget reduction response measures already enacted by the City to mitigate the impact to the General Fund include:
· Reduction in funding for Capital Improvement Projects as well as one-time capital purchases
· All vacant positions are placed on hold for review by the City Manager prior to posting the position
· All purchases are reviewed by Finance and City Manager’s Office prior to expending or encumbering funds
· Department line item savings
· Stoppage of all employee training and travel
· Delayed opening of Thrive
· Delayed renovation of the Lewisville Municipal Annex
With all the budget cuts being made, and additional cuts likely, it’s important for Lewisville residents to know essential services including police, fire, and utilities will continue uninterrupted.