ST. CLOUD -- The city of St. Cloud is cutting spending as it sees a sharp drop in revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Dave Kleis delivered his 15th Annual State of the City Address Tuesday afternoon in an empty city council chambers.

He says the city implemented a spending and hiring freeze two months ago already.

In part-time employees for the city, we are down 197, in full-time employees we are down 23 employees during that two month period.

Kleis says they've reduced full-time staff through attrition, not layoffs.

Meanwhile, he's expecting a $10 million revenue shortfall just over the past two months.

The half-cent sales tax that we have locally, the food and beverage tax with restaurants and bars not being able to be open, the hotel-motel tax that tax has been reduced significantly.

Kleis says they also have lost revenue due to canceled events at the River's Edge Convention Center and the Municipal Athletic Complex.

The city has received over $1 million in a federal grant through the St. Cloud Regional Airport and an additional $370,000 federal grant through the Community Development Block Grant program.

Kleis spoke for a little over an hour and addressed several other topics along the way.  He says he's held 748 town hall meetings over the time that he's been mayor, which date back to November of 2005.  Moving forward he's planning to offer curbside town hall meetings being sure to safely socially distance.

In 2021 the Paramount Theater in downtown St. Cloud will be celebrating its 100th anniversary, and to kick-off the celebration the city will be holding a fireworks show on New Year's Eve.

Kleis is going to go to a virtual history tour format this summer, instead of his typical trolley tours.

The old pioneer cabin that was taken down a couple of years ago next to the Stearns History Museum to make way for the new Costco Wholesale store is going to be rebuilt.  Kleis says it's going to go back to the Riverside Park in either June or July.

Plans to renovate the old St. Cloud Technical High School into a future city hall have temporarily been put on hold.  Kleis says it is going depend on how the bids come back on how soon they'll be able to move forward on that project.

As for Granite City Days Kleis says while the traditional events primarily have been canceled, he says you should look for announcements in the coming weeks on a series of on-demand or virtual events involving the city celebration.

Kleis is the longest-serving mayor in the city of St. Cloud's 164-year history.

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