The news of late is both good and bad. While sales-tax collections continue upward, COVID-19 cases continue to rise. But let’s focus on the good for the moment.
The state comptroller reported an upward tick of more than 12 percent for sales-tax allocations to Burnet for May. Of course, the sales-tax numbers reported are always a month behind the actual collections, so it’s possible that next month’s numbers will drop slightly. But with the governor relaxing some restrictions on retail and restaurants (our highest collectors of sales tax), we should be able to make up any drops fairly quickly.
More good news for citizens is that in order to help offset some of the hardships caused by COVID-19, the city of Burnet has implemented a utility assistance program to both businesses and residents. Applications for the program are due June 30. More information can be obtained about both of these programs on the city’s website.
Now for the bad news. COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the county, reaching more than 60 and, unfortunately, one death. Seven new cases were reported on Friday, June 15, alone. While some of these cases were certainly due to increased testing, that does not account for all of them. Along those same lines, while some cases were attributable to “nests” of outbreaks, that does not account for all of them either. Not to be an alarmist, but there is still a very real possibility of contracting the virus, and, for some at least, it’s a dangerous virus.
Also, I am afraid that many people have taken the governor’s economic opening as a signal that all bets are off. While we are thrilled to see the movement forward for increasing business, that does not mean that all protections are off the table. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends social distancing, personal protective equipment (including masks), and social distancing, especially for medically compromised folks. And remember: You are not just protecting yourself when you do these things, you are helping your fellow citizens. The positive side of that is the citizens of Burnet have always stepped up to do the right thing and to help their fellows whenever the need arises. It’s one of the things that I love about Burnet.
I suppose that with the sunshine comes the rain, and this too will pass. Hopefully, we can focus on the good and take precautions to avert the bad. It’s been Burnet’s history to do just that. Stay safe.