City of Poughkeepsie Makes Series of Reductions to Close Projected Budget Gap
City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced further financial reductions today to close the gap on a projected multimillion-dollar budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mayor said approximately $500,000 is being removed from the 2020 budgets of the Police and Fire Departments in this round, largely reflected in a freeze on filling vacant positions.
Revenue streams such as permits and parking fees are being negatively impacted by the pandemic. Property and sales taxes remain particularly vulnerable. Approximately $4.7 million in state aid also is at risk pending state decisions in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Earlier this year, as a result of these financial impacts, Mayor Rolison ordered a hiring freeze for all but public safety and some other key positions, and he worked with department heads to identify 15 percent in spending cuts.
“Like everyone else, city officials have faced considerable challenges during this crisis. With the help of our department heads, we have kept pace with a rapidly changing landscape, while continuing to provide uninterrupted essential services.”
City officials projected a $5.5 million budget shortfall, later revised downward to $5.1 million, before shaving approximately $1.5 million in expenses as part of a first round of budget cuts. City officials caution that the numbers are fluid and subject to revision.
“Without a fund balance,” Mayor Rolison pointed out, “revenue shortfalls must be met by expense-side cuts. Through June 30, the City has reduced general fund spending by more than $2.5 million, when compared to the same period last year.”
The Mayor emphasized that federal aid to states and local governments is essential to local government operations.
“As the debate in Washington over the nature of the next round of economic stimulus drags into summer, communities will suffer the consequences. Make no mistake, these will not be the consequences of COVID-19. They will be the result of failing to include state and local governments in whatever final agreement is reached between the House and the Senate.”