Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Jr. paid a visit to the Zoom Café. He presented an overview of how the City is faring during these most unusual times. Some things are the same, yet different. He has been in his office every day but the rest of City Hall has been largely vacant. 81 City employees were laid off and only recently brought back on the payroll.
Fallout from the pandemic includes a drastic loss of revenue which will result in a projected $5.5 million budget shortfall. Revenue losses stem from a variety of sources including parking meters, earned income tax, closure of the Crayola Factory and the State Theatre. A major factor is the loss of revenue from the Casino. The projected shortfall could get worse depending on how long it takes to reopen restaurants. Partisan politics in Washington and Harrisburg have succeeded in magnifying the problem.
Sal sees a lasting impact throughout 2021. It is not all gloom and doom however, the Mayor sees a silver lining. New York City will take 10-12 years to rebound. Companies will rethink their need to be in the heart of the City. Why not establish remote locations in smaller, more affordable places like Easton? Developers are still working in the City. The Commodore project has secured financing. The Hearst property is nearing completion. A new 4th Street parking garage is in the works. Downtown Easton is thriving. People are coming for the on-street dining. Restaurants and retailers are finding ways to do business outside.
Taxes have been stable for years. There are rehabilitation projects in the West Ward. Housing projects on South Side will fit in perfectly with the beautiful new Cheston Elementary School. The Temple Covenant of Peace has donated their beautiful Holocaust Memorial to the City. Unlike other cities, Easton social injustice rallies have been peaceful. The Police force continues to shed its image as a bully force. There will be no defunding of the Police. If anything, funding will increase. Under Mayor Sal’s leadership, decisions made in Easton will continue to be for the long term and not for the political term. Our City is indeed fortunate to have a Mayor that truly loves the City of Easton.