EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The Mayor of Evansville says that despite a pandemic ravaged year in 2020, the city of Evansville is in decent shape as it looks to move forward in 2021.
Still, Winnecke said that 202 was still a challenging year for Evansville, just as it was for many other cities across the state of Indiana.
“Like all the businesses that you represent, city government faces and has faced extraordinary challenges,” Winnecke said to a luncheon with The Southwest Indiana Chamber. “Because of lost revenue we’ve been forced to delay purchases, re-prioritize spending, and cut the workforce.”
Winnecke said the city has had to eliminate 16 positions within the city’s government, including one position from his own office. He also expects that budgeting for the city for the next two to three years will be tough as a direct result of the financial impact of the pandemic.
However, he said the city seems to have been able to navigate the pandemic successfully so far.
“We borrowed a little more than $16 million on May 28th to help cover our operating expenses until tax payments were all received,” said Winnecke. “We are able to repay 100-percent of that loan just 13 weeks later.”
He said that revenue and attendance were down at key revenue streams for the city such as the Evansville Zoo, which saw a 50-percent decrease in revenue from 2019. Mass transit also took a hit with 53-percent fewer people riding city buses in Evansville.
Winnecke said one thing that helped mitigate those losses, though not to a big extent, was the fact the many people in Evansville played a lot of golf.
“In 2019, golf revenue was about $1.4 million,” Winnecke said. “Our 2020 revenue, despite eight weeks of being closed was about $1.7 million in increase.”
Winnecke attributed this boon in Evansville golf courses to the fact that people were cooped up at home and could do many outdoor activities for a while during the shutdowns to the increase in golf revenue.
He said though it will still be challenging going forward, Evansville seems to be in a good spot moving forward.