Otsego County Faces Possible $22M Revenue Shortfall
Yesterday, the Otsego County Board of Representatives held a Zoom meeting to talk about an $11 million budget deficit, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to AllOTSEGO, unfortunately, the board learned that the shortfall was more like $22 million, which is double Otsego County's property tax levy. Needless to say, a gloomy prospect for the board and county taxpayers. To keep the current service levels in place, that shortfall would have to come from doubling the tax levy for property owners in the county.
County Reps discussed what they believe is a worst-case scenario of a 50% cut in sales and bed tax revenues, and reimbursements from the State of New York, amounting to $11 million, although according to County Treasurer Allen Ruffles “It could be even worse." He talked of a $9.7 million loss in sales tax and $1.5 million in bed tax revenue; that equals $22 million “if their scenario is right,” referring to a report from the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).
The Board discussed layoffs, and employee retirement incentives, and halting work on a new fire training center but will be meeting again on May 20 to make a series of decisions to make deep cuts and quickly.
Because Otsego County raises so much money from tourism in the form of sales and bed tax paid mostly by tourists making Otsego County residents pay the lowest county taxes in the state, there is great concern of the lost tourism dollars this year.
It goes without saying that it's a tough road ahead for the county to figure out the best way to make up for lost revenue from the pandemic.
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