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Livingston County grapples with budget pressures

Livingston County is taking steps to deal with losses in revenues from sales tax and state aid, a situation a number of counties and local governments are facing.

On Tuesday, Livingston County Administrator Ian Coyle said that sales tax revenue is the county’s largest revenue source, and with the coronavirus, “reports indicate we will be far off from our budget projections given the economic calamity statewide." Coyle said losses of 10-25% are expected, meaning a loss of $3.5 - $8 million.

Coyle said that with Governor Andrew Cuomo indicating his intent to cut state aid, potentially by up to 20%, it could mean another $4 to $5 million shortfall.

Coyle said that since Livingston County has excellent bond ratings and a healthy fund balance it’s in a better position than some other local governments to withstand the pressures. But, he said that difficult decisions have been made, including making about $2 million in budget cuts to the current spending plan which includes furloughing some employees.

Coyle said the fiscal crisis will make the upcoming budget process the most difficult one on record for Livingston County, and without federal and state support, he sees a large budget gap and does not see a scenario where all county programs and services can be maintained.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.