City calls for more federal relief to municipalities

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Cortland Common Council met via Zoom last night where city leaders continued discussing their efforts to respond to the effects of COVID-19 on the community.

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Leading off the meeting was an official resolution calling on the city’s federal representatives – Rep. Brindisi and Sens. Schumer & Gillibrand – to push for more local relief paid directly to all municipalities, regardless of population.

That comes after a comptroller’s report last week estimated state assistance to localities would be cut by more than $8B in the next fiscal year.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli added that New York’s economy will take years to recover from its losses.

Some help did arrive for the city last week in the form of a $16 million EPA Water Infrastructure Loan announced by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Those funds will support multiple ongoing water main replacement and wastewater upgrade projects, providing safer drinking water and more reliable wastewater services.

Budget damage in Cortland County extends well into the millions, with the exact number still unclear due to potential changes with the way the state distributes future sales tax revenue payments.

County administrator Rob Corpora said earlier this month the deficit is currently pegged to be around $1.6 – 6M.

The legislature has since adopted an austerity budget.

Mandatory workforce reductions also led to the furlough of 57 county employees, along with 18 city of Cortland workers and seven Village of Homer personnel.

Tompkins County furloughed 96 workers and faces $11-18M in projected revenue loss.

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