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Millions expected in COVID-19 county budget damage

Local News

Cortland‌ ‌Legislators‌ ‌met‌ ‌yesterday‌ ‌morning‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ special ‌Committee‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Whole‌ ‌meeting,‌ ‌where Public Health‌ ‌Director‌ ‌Cathy‌ ‌Feurherm‌ ‌stopped by and gave‌ ‌the‌ ‌latest‌ information ‌on‌ the county’s COVID-19‌ numbers.‌ ‌

In‌ ‌20 ‌days,‌ ‌there have now been ‌20 ‌positives – ‌averaging‌ ‌out‌ ‌to‌ ‌exactly one‌ ‌confirmed case each ‌day‌ – with 12 recovered and three people currently hospitalized out of a total of four to-date. About 1.5% of the county population has been tested.

Additionally, 630 test results have come back negative and county‌ ‌health‌ ‌officials‌ ‌are‌ ‌still monitoring‌ ‌30‌ ‌others‌ ‌in‌ ‌quarantine‌ pending ‌their results.‌ ‌(numbers current as of 4/9).

Feuerherm said most‌ ‌of those were exposed to the virus in areas ‌outside‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌county and that none have been in any communal facilities like nursing homes or grocery stores in the county.

County‌ ‌Administrator‌ ‌Rob‌ ‌Corpora‌ ‌also spoke and discussed‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌impacts‌ ‌the‌ ‌pandemic‌ ‌is‌ ‌making‌ ‌on‌ ‌this‌ ‌year’s‌ ‌County Budget and revenue‌ ‌projections.

While he has no doubt they’ll be substantial, Corpora said it’s still too early to tell exactly how much damage will be done.

“The [enacted] budget is $30.5M, but the revised budget is probably going to be around $27M,” Corpora said. “The number is too early to say and a very rough guess, but it’s not looking good.”

Legislator and Majority Leader George Wagner asked whether cuts would be made to personnel or services, in order to meet this deficit, to which Corpora said “at this moment, nothing off the table.”

In the meantime, Feuerherm reassured the community of the importance and effectiveness of social distancing.

She also said the health department will gear up to enhance their response plan for a second wave of the virus expected in the fall.

“We know what we need for wave two, and we are working to get what we don’t have right now,” Feurherm said.

A special conference has now been planned for next Wednesday, April 15 to continuing discussing the County’s response, along with issues of mutual concern among each of its municipalities.

That meeting will be held remotely via Webex beginning at 10 am.

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