Without federal aid Ulster Co. faces painful cuts
Jun 02, 2020 5:30 am
Ariél Zangla is reporting for the Daily Freeman if Ulster County does not receive direct federal financial support, county officials will have to make "much more difficult and costly reductions" to balance its budget and stabilize its finances, County Executive Pat Ryan said May 31. Ryan described a financial stabilization plan drafted by his administration to manage the county spending plan going forward. The plan, divided into three phases, outlines the amount of money the county expects to save from its actions. Ryan said it is still unknown how the COVID-19 pandemic will ultimately impact its sales tax receipts and state aid, so the plan includes several variables because of that uncertainty. County Legislature Minority Leader Ken Ronk said the financial stabilization plan is "a good start," adding that he and Ryan have had a lot of conversations recently about the county's finances. The plan builds in flexibility to allow the county to respond to changes in funding and revenue reductions, Ronk said. Phase one was implemented in mid-March and included a spending and hiring freeze, and offered buyouts to employees to help reduce expenses. Phase two of the plan, which is beginning now, identifies up to $10 million in immediate operational spending cuts. It could also call for the use of some of the county's unappropriated fund balance, which currently totals about $24 million. The third phase of the financial stabilization plan looks to streamline county government and to identify more opportunities for shared services with local municipalities and organizations. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.