ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (NCC News) — The financial impact of COVID-19 has Onondaga County in uncharted waters.
County Chair David Knapp is overseeing the transition into a post-coronavirus world for Onondaga County, but the losses incurred by the virus have been staggering.
“We’re estimating that we could be down $100 million by the end of the year if things don’t turn around rapidly,” said Knapp. “Obviously, that hurts.”
In a budget just over $1 billion, this amounts to a nearly 10% loss in spending power. The ramifications of losses like these are yet to become clear, but what is clear is that spending has to be cut to survive the pandemic fiscally.
Knapp says he has cut budgets for ongoing infrastructure projects and optional construction around the county but that it will not be enough on it’s own.
“We’ve cut about $30 million so far,” said Knapp. “There’s not much more that we can cut outside of — a little over 3,000 employees.”
Knapp extolled the virtue of the county’s employees, but the budget issue may take his admiration for them out of his hands during the pandemic. He did go on to guarantee the continuation of essential services to Onondaga residents.
Knapp stressed that Onondaga will stay financially viable due to its lush cash reserves, but he expressed a strong desire to keep those reserves healthy enough to weather a longer storm without depleting them too early.
The Onondaga County government is hoping for further aid from the federal government to blunt the impact of these financial losses.