‘Some will have fought, some will have defected,’ mayor says of coronavirus

Woodford County, Ky. (WTVQ) – As the number of cases in his county have started to grow by at least one a day in the last few days, the mayor of a Woodford County town used some emotional language Tuesday to rally residents to do more.

“Our grandparents went to Normandy and Omaha Beach, all we’re being asked to do is sit on the couch,” Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said, saying that in the end the results will show who “fought” and who “defected.”

The comments came in a long online question-and-answer session hosted by Woodford Sun editor John McGary with Vandegrift, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott, and county Judge Executive James Kay.

The remarks came as all three implored residents to not get apathetic now at the peak of the coronavirus fight.

As a show of support for those fighting the disease, including everyone from health care workers to first responders to jailers, and to the families whose loved ones have it, the three are encouraging the community to wear green Wednesday.

That’s particularly important to Traugott, whose wife is a medical professional and has to take extraordinary steps when she comes home each day to safeguard her husband and child.

Based on their conversations with Gov. Andy Beshear, they said they expect the distancing rules, closures and other steps could go at least until the end of May.

And obviously, that will have a significant impact on city and county budgets, which depend heavily on payroll taxes to fund services. All three governments are heading into the last quarter of the current budget years and will be approving new spending plans soon to take effect July 1.

The coronavirus impact is factoring in big in both.

“We can bring the economy back, but we can’t bring people back so our focus really has been on the people end of things, the steps needed,” Vandegrift said.

“We’ve been cutting back on spending in some areas,” he continued, noting some closures actually are producing some savings.

“We may get off to a slow start in the next fiscal year but we will be okay,” he added, noting the city may spread out some projects over longer periods of time or push some into future years.

“We all built some pretty good reserve funds. Next year obviously will be a little more austere budget than I would have said a month ago. But we will bounce back strong,” added Traugott.



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