ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehen announced on Monday the city will begin laying off non-essential workers due to an up to $20 million shortfall in the budget.
The city began the year with a balanced budget. The shortfall is due to a loss in revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the budget hole, the mayor has asked Congress to bail out cities in the next stimulus bill.
“Not getting this aid would result in the city being unrecognizable,” Sheehan said.
Sheehan said other cuts will include city services the longer Albany goes without federal aid.
“We’re talking about a city with no recreation programs. We’re talking about a city where no parks are open. We’re talking about a city that may not be able to pick up your garbage,” Sheehan said.
The city does have a fund balance of about $9 million according to Sheehan. The mayor said rather than depleting the fund to fill some of the gaps, she’s taking cues from the 2008 recession and how that impacted the city during the following years.
“We could be looking at 2020 being the easiest year, and 2021, 2022, being even more challenging,” Sheehan said.
To prepare for the financial impact, she’s asking for $34 million to help cover this and next year’s budget. Taxes may be raised next year as well.
If the city does not receive funds, cuts could extend to essential workers including firefighters and police officers.
“It cannot wait another month. It cannot wait until the fall because local governments are going to have to make these layoffs now in order to balance our budgets by the end of the year,” Sheehan said.
Mayor Sheehan said she’s discussed this issue with members of Congress as well as mayors from across the nation who are feeling the same pressure. Sheehan called the push a “bi-partisan” issue.
No indication was given of which non-essential workers would be laid off.
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