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Common Council To Hear Treasurer’s Report

City Hall Could Face

$1.6M Loss In Sales Tax

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Virginia Lee

ONEONTA –  The bad news: Oneonta could face as much as a $1.9 million shortfall in sales tax, according to city Finance Director Virginia Lee.

“I’ve outlined a mild, medium and severe – one, two and three – scenarios for loss of sales tax,” she said. “Mild would be $478,000. Medium would be $861,000, and severe scenarios could range from $1.1 to $1.9 million.”

Sales tax makes up 30 percent of the city’s revenues. But with the colleges shut down, Cooperstown Dreams Park closed and the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction moved to 2021, the city is beginning to look at how these losses might affect their budget planning this fall.

Lee will present these scenarios to Common Council when it meets Tuesday. “We’re uncertain what we face,” she said. “Everything is so unknown, but we want to give everyone an idea.”

Also unknown was whether or not cuts would be made to state aid, or whether the federal government would grant additional funding to municipalities.

Now the good news.

“The city has very healthy reserves,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “The people who came before us put away funds for a rainy day, and right now, it’s pouring.”

Budget deliberations on the 2021 budget won’t begun until fall, and Herzig said that it is “too early” to talk about cuts.  But, for the time being, steps may be taken – leaving vacant positions unfilled, for instance – to save money.

But capital improvement projects, including the DRI, wastewater upgrades and the re-design of the Municipal Parking Garage will continue as planned. “Common Council won’t spend unnecessarily, but we see quality of life projects as an investment in our future.”


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