Things may turn out to be a lot better than they look.
That could be one take away from a speech given Thursday afternoon by Fred Parry, District 1 Boone County Commissioner to 17 Kiwanians over lunch at the Friendship Place.
He discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and related public policy.
“You would have thought it was Black Friday, there were throngs of people at Home Depot and Wal-Mart… Shoulder to shoulder packed.” Parry said, illustrating why he was concerned that Boone County Health Department orders are being unevenly enforced when it comes to businesses.
“But our downtown mom and pop businesses are forced to turn people away. Many of them have had to close. It was news to me that businesses could be packed but churches could not.”
Parry said the Coronavirus incidence may increase in Boone County, or at least in Columbia, in August when the college students return, though currently, “Last week the National Guard was in the Hickman Parking lot and they tested 1,070 people and only Four-tenths of one percent of them had been infected,” he said. Then referred to Randall Williams, director of the state health department, who said they did not have to be concerned until 10 percent of a testing sample tested positive. “We are hovering about 1.3 percent. So, we are doing extremely well.”
In a related note, he said the county, so far has received $21 million in CARE funding. He said the US Treasury guidelines are “changing daily,” so they are proceeding slowly on how to apply them.
Meanwhile, he said the health orders issued by the Boone County Health Department have no expiration order. “It’s been a little tense,” he said of the atmosphere in the Boone County Building, “but we are working through it.”
While that happening, one surprise is that April 2020 county tax revenues were $105,000 higher than last year. He said that jump was likely driven by hoarding purchases. May’s revenues though, were down six percent, but better than the 30- to 60 percent some had predicted, Parry said. “So really your local governments have not been hit that hard by sales tax decreases.”
For the complete article, see next week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard,