Lots of businesses are finding ways to help out during the current crisis.
On the Independence Square, 3 Trails Brewing is giving complimentary growler fills to frontline workers such as first responders and hospital employees. The brewery will fill a 32-ounce bottle with Vaile Ale or Not Deflated.
Bring your own growler and lid (or they’ll sell you one), and bring an ID showing that you work for a hospital, fire service or police force.
The company has remained open from 3 to 7 p.m. seven days a week with curbside service. It’s at 111 N. Main St., at the corner of Main and Maple.
Sales taxes off
The sharp economic slowdown will play out in countless ways.
Fewer sales mean less in sales taxes. Fourteen years ago the voters of Jackson County decided to refurbish Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums, and for what it’s worth both the Chiefs and Royals have won championships since then.
The three-eighths-of-a-cent sales tax voters approved in 2006 steadily pays off the bonds for the stadium upgrades over 25 years. (That’s in addition to the quarter cent for the county’s COMBAT program, the one-eighth cent for the zoo, etc.)
County Administrator Troy Schulte told legislators on Monday that the county is looking at a 20 to 30 percent drop in sales taxes.
“We won’t have a real good handle on sales taxes probably until June,” he said.
At 30 percent, he said, there could be a problem with enough money coming in to service those bonds. So stay tuned on that.
The county has frozen hiring, “but that probably won’t be enough to solve all the issues,” Schulte said.
“This,” he said, “is going to be a dramatic reduction.”
Comcast, which serves much of Eastern Jackson County with services such as Xfinity Internet, Xfinity Mobile and Xfinity Voice service, is extending through June 30 the measures it has taken to ease things for its customers during the pandemic.
• No service disconnections. Late fees will be waived if customers contact the company.
• Free XFinity Wifi. Go to www.xfinity.com/wifi for a map of businesses and hotspots where anyone can use it.
• A whole lot of us are working, learning and recreating at home, though the company says few customers use their 1TB of data a month. Still, the company has put its data plans on pause, meaning all customers still have unlimited data.
• Internet Essentials is available for 60 days for free, through June 30. It's normally $9.95 a month for low-income households. Go to www.internetessentials.com.
On Tuesday, the Sinclair station on U.S. 40 near Phelps Road on the Independence/Kansas City line had the cheapest gas in the metro area – $1.29 a gallon – according to gasbuddy.com.
Take it as one small silver living in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationwide, the price of gas has been falling for a year. In late April 2019, it was $2.90 a gallon, compared with $1.73 on Tuesday. Kansas City runs a little cheaper, but prices rise and fall with the national trend. A year ago: $2.60. Tuesday: $1.47.
Over the past 10 years, gasbuddy says, prices have only been this low once, in the spring of 2016.
Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @FoxEJC.