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Common Councilors Reevaluate Budget After Being Left Out Of Federal Aid Package

City of Syracuse

The Finance Committee Chair of the Syracuse Common Council plans to hold discussions soon after it’s been made clear local governments won’t be getting any of the $900 billion in federal COVID aid.  Michael Greene says both sales tax revenue and state aid are way down and that ultimately impacts the city’s budget. 

He also says some Washington D.C. lawmakers had it wrong making the call to exclude aid to cities.

“It’s particularly pernicious when you hear republicans in DC trying to refer to this as a bailout for local governments when the reality is that the problem that federal government directly caused,” said Greene.

He blames President Trump and his administration but is hopeful that more help will be on the way from President-Elect Joe Biden.  He says the outcome of the run-off elections in Georgia will play a pivotal role.  In the meantime, his committee will be looking for any ways to identify more efficiencies while anticipating sales tax revenue is likely to remain flat.

“… Which is lower than what we’d want it to be.  So, then the discussions are like… ok, what are the most highest items that we need to kind of protect for city services and what are things that we can put off or cut.  So, I think we’re in the very beginning stages of that process now,” said Greene.  

He adds the city’s fund balance will likely be around $33 million at the close of the year.  By comparison, the city had roughly $51 million in reserves just two years ago.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.