The mayor has also ordered about $10 million appropriated so that 5,400 employees who can't work from home receive an extra $500 in hazard pay from March through June.
Councilman Howard Shook, former chair of the council’s Finance Executive Committee, said that the figures the mayor provided also present a harrowing glimpse into how the virus could impact the city’s 2021 fiscal budget beginning July 1.
“What steps have been taken in terms of hiring and non-essential spending to cushion us from the body blow we are clearly going to receive?” Shook asked.
Bottoms said that the city’s top officials were exploring cost-cutting measures, but had no immediate plans to layoff workers.
“We are trying to hold on to every dime we have right now,” Bottoms said.
Chief Financial Officer Roosevelt Council Jr. said that the city would attempt to tap into federal stimulus funds and FEMA reimbursements to offset the financial impact of the virus.
"This pandemic has prompted us to review every aspect of our budget," Council said.
Bottoms said the city hadn’t put a hiring freeze in place because it may need additional public safety employees to respond to the virus.
The city has a general fund reserve — essentially a savings account for emergencies and capital projects — of around $160 million. Maintaining a large reserve helps the city’s credit rating, which lowers the amount of interest paid on debt.
The general fund pays for most basic city services, from patching potholes and building parks to running community centers and paying police officers.