CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Because of the shutdown of non-essential business due to the COVID-19 outbreak the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office said there will be a financial deficit of approximately $500 million by the end of the fiscal year.
Harrison County Commission stated currently the counties financial situation is in good standing, and have been very conservative with revenue estimates when planning for next year’s budget. The commission said before COVID-19 they looked at the budget on a monthly and quarterly basis, but now they will be looking at the budget more closely and communicating with elected officials to keep their budget balanced
“We have to treat the budget at the county like you would your budget at home. You have to pay attention to every line and make sure that what your spending money on is exactly what needs to be spent on,” said Patsy Trecost, a member of the Harrison County Commission.
Trecost stated that he does not know when the pandemic will end and everyone needs to be patient. To help small non-essential businesses the Harrison County Commission said they will apply for any state and federal aid possible to be able to give those businesses every opportunity to move forward.
“We have government assistance through the forms of the emergency disaster loans through the SBA (Small Business Administration) along with the PPP (Paycheck Protection Loan Program). We have enhanced unemployment,” said State Auditor JB McCuskey. “And the goal is for all of these things is to float a lifeline to these businesses that has been closed by the government.”
McCuskey said that if the non-essential businesses are still closed in a few months the lasting effects might be unfixable by the government. He also said that if the government keeps small businesses shutdown for six months it highly unlikely that they will be able to recover and move forward.
“We no longer have a food tax. So, the majority of the businesses that are open are providing food, and so the state is going to suffer those shortfalls as well,” said McCuskey.
Harrison County Commission stated they have not looked into any tax breaks as of yet for small businesses owners. Trecost said he realizes without business there are no jobs, and without any jobs there would not be revenue. The commission said they will always support business and those that are continue to maintain services to their communities.