The COVID-19 pandemic has put a financial stranglehold on towns and states across the country, and Poughkeepsie is the latest to announce major changes in its support structure.

The city announced on Thursday, July 23 that it would need to cut another $500,000 from its 2020 budget, this time directly from the police and fire departments. This will be reflected largely in a continued freeze on filling vacant positions.

Earlier this year the city projected a $5.5 million budget shortfall as a result of the pandemic, which was later revised downward to $5.1 million. The first round of budget cuts saw the city take a hatchet to the fiscal spending plan and wipe away $1.5 million in expenses.

“Like everyone else, city officials have faced considerable challenges during this crisis,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “With the help of our department heads, we have kept pace with a rapidly changing landscape, while continuing to provide uninterrupted essential services.”

The general fund spending is down $2.5 million year-over-year for the same time period.

Revenue streams such as permits and parking fees are being negatively impacted by the pandemic, and property taxes and sales taxes are also proving vulnerable. State aid to the tune of $4.7 million is also in flux pending decisions that will be made in the final quarter of the year.

“As the debate in Washington over the nature of the next round of economic stimulus drags into summer, communities will suffer the consequences,” Rolison said. “Make no mistake, these will not be the consequences of COVID-19. They will be the result of failing to include state and local governments in whatever final agreement is reached between the House and the Senate.”

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