City Manager's Blog

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Mar 23


Posted on March 23, 2020 at 10:30 AM by Melinda Mayo

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential.  Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.  We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest”

- Maya Angelou

Courage is the order of the day.  We are familiar with, and will no doubt become even more familiar with over the next several weeks, the courage of doctors, nurses, and Fire-EMS personnel.  What they have been and will be called upon to do will require a great deal of courage.  Perhaps less familiar is the courage exhibited by so many others – grocery clerks, custodians, technicians, mechanics, pharmacists, and many more.  Regular, ordinary folks called upon to help in extraordinary times. 

Though City offices have been closed to the public for several days and will remain so through at least the rest of the month, 911 calls are still being answered, trash is still being picked up, vendors are still being paid, buildings are still be sanitized, buses are still transporting people to jobs, and life-safety inspections are still being performed.  These services are being provided by no less courageous individuals, who continue to do what the community needs them to do, even as the world around us appears to be coming undone.  While all others are told to avoid going out as much as possible and stay away from gatherings, our folks must still assemble – from The Mayor and City Council Members to the garbage truck operators – to get the work done.

Yes, we also continue to prepare tax bills and collect revenue.  We don’t do this because we are insensitive or uncaring about the current crisis and how it affects our citizens.  Rather, local ordinances and state law require it, and it is a necessary part of what it takes to ensure those courageous individuals have what they need to deliver the services each of us depend upon.  We still have to buy fuel, we still have to purchase supplies, we have to pay our debts, and we still have to pay those we are asking to keep working, no matter what is going on around them or their families.  Perhaps soon, hopefully very soon, the State and Federal governments will provide some financial relief so we can be certain the essential services that we (and no one else) provide continue to be available. In the meantime, we continue to rely on you, the community, to provide the resources it takes to deliver the services you need.

I don’t know what the future holds for any of us or our community, but I do know that the Mayor, the Council, City Management, and the more than 1,700 Roanoke City employees will do all that is possible to support the health of the people of this community and its economic recovery.

Stay safe, stay home if you are able, take care of one another, and together let’s do all we can to make certain Roanoke remains the shining star in this corner of the World.

— Bob Cowell


Stephen Fisk
March 23, 2020 at 1:56 PM
What is the city administration doing to plan for the inevitable drop in city revenues?....IE meal taxes and other local taxes on hotels etc, parking revenue, bus revenues, property taxes that will go unpaid because people are out of work? Thanks, Steve Fisk
Melinda Mayo
March 24, 2020 at 8:42 AM
Great observation and excellent questions. Just as all of our area businesses are doing, we too are adjusting our revenue estimates and projections and based upon that information altering our expenditures, both to manage our diminishing cash flow for the remainder of this fiscal year and to better prepare for the next fiscal year's budget. One thing we cannot do is close our doors - certain essential services such as Police, Fire-EMS, solid waste collection, etc. must continue with as little disruption as possible. -- Bob Cowell

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