County governments and New York City have lost a combined $13.5 billion in economic activity, and it could lead to massive cuts in spending for essential services.
The New York State Association of Counties warned in a report released on Monday that conditions could become dire, if federal help is not received.
Congress is in the midst of negotiating the next Coronavirus Relief Package, which could have funds for local government. It’s unclear at this point if it will, but even modest help could prevent permanent job losses.
The losses could reach 15-20% as the pandemic continues into late-2020, and early-2021.
“Counties have reached a critical juncture in which the loss of revenue due to reduced economic activity and increased expenses from COVID-19 response have pushed them to the breaking point,” said Jack Marren, the chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors and the group’s president.
“Without direct, flexible state and local aid, counties across the state will be forced to cut local services and programs including transportation infrastructure improvement projects, services like county libraries and parks, senior meals on wheels, and human service programs benefiting thousands of New Yorkers.”
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