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Hi there,

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

If you haven't yet, consider participating in the WeLoveMI campaign. Now more than ever, our City and our community need our support.  

Here are the latest updates and community links from around Mercer Island:

City of Mercer Island – COVID-19 Workforce Reductions
  • Last week, City Manager Jessi Bon shared a message to the community, as well as a detailed memo to the City Council, describing the City's current financial projections and workforce reductions.
     
  • In short, the City has projected a $5.6 million end-of-year deficit, due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and has laid off over 60 employees and furloughed 11 more.
     
  • The forecasted deficit of $5.6 million includes approximately $4.3 million in the General Fund and $1.3 million in the Youth & Family Services fund.  
     
  • The projected deficit is the result of significant projected revenue losses, coupled with unexpected and ongoing emergency response expenses. (The City does not have a dedicated reserve for emergency operations expenses, according to the memo.)
     
  • Losses of projected revenue include the following:
    • $1.1 million – Parks & Recreation: Projected losses due to canceled parks and recreation department programming, facility rentals, and field rentals.
    • $1.1. million – Youth & Family Services: Projected Thrift Shop revenue losses
    • $1.3 million – Sales tax projected revenue loss
       
  • The layoffs were made in the following departments:
    • Parks & Recreation: 32 staff members
    • Facilities: 2 staff members
    • Youth & Family Services: 22 staff members have been laid off, and an additional 6 positions have been placed on 90-Day standby layoff
       
  • The standby layoffs include the Youth & Family Services Director, 2 elementary school mental-health counselors, and a community-based counselor. The memo notes that the "decision to place these six (6) positions on 90-day Standby was to allow time for the City Council to discuss policy options related to YFS services and operations, while also immediately drawing down expenses. A decision on whether or not to extend these layoffs beyond 90 days will need to be made in early July."
     
  • In the memo, Jessi Bon stated "Decisions to cut and/or reduce services and staff are very difficult. These are not decisions any City Manager wants to make. Although these decisions are fiscally responsible, they are devastating to the community and the City organization." Here's the complete memo.
     
  • For another quick synopsis, The Seattle Times covered the City of Mercer Island's budget cuts in its April 30th coronavirus daily news updates.
     
  • TODAY – An updated financial forecast will be presented to the City Council at its May 5th meeting, kicking off a critical public discussion about the road to recovery.
WeLoveMI Campaign
  • Given the City's financial projections, there has never been a better time to make an impactful donation to the Mercer Island Youth & Family Services Foundation.
     
  • You can also support other non-profit organizations and local businesses through the WeLoveMI campaign.
     
  • Since the campaign's launch on April 16th, community members have donated over $60,00 to Mercer Island businesses impacted by COVID-19, and non-profits have also reported generous donations coming in.
     
  • The Rotary Club of Mercer Island provided a generous donation of $11,000 to the campaign, which included $5,000 to Mercer Island Youth & Family Services, $5,000 to the Mercer Island Community Fund, and an additional $1,000 to help fund the cost of WeLoveMI promotional materials. 
     
  • Suzanne Zahr recently hosted a Zoom discussion with WeLoveMI organizers Sharon Perez and Jen McClellan at her latest First Friday virtual event. Watch it here.  
     
  • Join your friends and neighbors and support Mercer Island businesses and nonprofits today, as more support is needed as the road ahead is still very uncertain for many business owners and organizations. Visit www.WeLoveMI.org to donate (and check back in as new businesses and nonprofits are being added to the campaign on an ongoing basis).
Other community updates
  • Based on the Governor’s extension of the stay-home order and the four-phase plan for re-opening, the City of Mercer Island has announced revised city facility closures and event cancellations. (City of Mercer Island)
     
  • You may notice construction resuming on existing job sites around the island. Here are the details on the governor’s order in regard to partially restarting construction. (City of Mercer Island)
     
  • While other local, small community newspapers have had to suspend print publication due to falling advertising revenue during COVID-19, the Mercer Island Reporter continues to provide local news in print and on their website. Here's an update from the Mercer Island Reporter. Support local journalism and consider subscribing if you aren't already.  
     
  • The Mercer Island Schools Foundation invites you to join in for the first ever virtual Spring for Schools campaign, a fundraising drive that replaces its Breakfast of Champions event this year. Check out the campaign video and donate today.
Local News
  • "Kirkland Urban developer buys 6-acre property near Mercer Island light rail station" – Puget Sound Business Journal
     
  • "Mercer Island student finds the 'trick' to beating boredom – Jack Moffitt pulls off amazing stunts without leaving home" – King5 
     
  • "Island T-shirt mogul shifts to mask production" – Mercer Island Reporter
     
  • The Boutique Lounge plans donation to the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club – Mercer Island Reporter
Catch up with our latest blog posts on My Mercer Island Thank your for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Take care,
Erin

Erin Sirianni
Editor, My Mercer Island
Broker and Co-Founder, The Sirianni Group
Windermere Real Estate – Mercer Island
206-992-5272
Did someone forward this newsletter issue to you? Click here so you can subscribe or email me at erin@mymercerisland.com, and I would be happy to add you to our list.
Copyright © 2020 My Mercer Island / The Sirianni Group, All rights reserved.


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