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Yacolt expects shutdown to have negligible impact on revenue

The COVID-19 outbreak and economic shutdown doesn’t appear to be having much of an impact on the town of Yacolt’s general-fund revenue.

While the town has not calculated an exact figure or range for the expected hit to the town’s coffers, it’ll be relatively negligible, Mayor Katie Listek said.

As businesses have been shut down throughout Clark County, municipalities have seen revenue forecasts drop as much as 40 percent, largely due to a decline in sales tax revenue. But that’s less of an issue for the town of fewer than 2,000 people and just a handful of businesses.

About 45 percent of the town’s $1.47 million in projected revenue comes from property taxes, Listek said. The Clark County Treasurer’s Office has reported that property taxes have been paid at a near-normal rate despite economic woes.

“It’s not going to be significantly lower considering that Yacolt doesn’t have a strong economic base,” Listek said. “I’m not expecting a huge loss in that area.”

Some of the main sources of sales tax revenue, including the Yacolt Trading Post grocery store and BackRoads Food and Spirits, have remained at least partially open or received a federal loan during the shutdown. Other businesses, such as the town’s U.S. Bank branch and several painting companies, have been closed.

The town’s two on-call public works employees were “given a break” in the early part of the shutdown, Listek said. When the town did call them into work, they prioritized tasks that allowed them to remain distant from other people.

Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s shutdown order, only essential construction projects were allowed. Listek said the town’s projects are relatively small anyway, including mowing lawns and minor maintenance issues.

“The ‘necessary and routine’ was difficult to decide on,” Listek said. “We had to make those decisions for ourselves so that our town wouldn’t be reprimanded later.”

The town will also close other hiring slots, including seasonal ones, as uncertainty with the virus and any further economic ramifications continue.

“We don’t want to be hiring when we’re not sure where we are or what the future holds,” Listek said.

Yacolt’s relative stability allowed the town to instead focus on residents’ physical health, Listek said. The mayor said she noticed more people offering to pick up items such as groceries for older members of the community.

“I think it will, overall, in the long run, be a benefit to the community’s growth,” Listek said.


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