Onondaga County Legislature may be facing tough budget cuts


SYRACUSE, N,Y. (WSYR-TV) — While Onondaga County’s COVID-19 data continues to be strong, it’s finances are struggling.

The unfortunate news of two more neighbors who lost their fight with COVID-19 brings Onondaga County’s total to 141.

Hospitalization rates are declining, according to the county executive. 71 individuals are hospitalized, however, over 40 of those individuals are seniors waiting to be released back to nursing homes.

Due to an Executive Order that was meant to keep the coronavirus from getting into nursing homes, these seniors cannot go home without testing COVID-19 negative.

Onondaga County is waiting for New York State’s approval to place these individuals in two other facilities instead of keeping them in the hospital.

Onondaga County’s infection rate is down to 5.8 percent with a 3-day average of 2 percent. There are now 2,152 positive cases in Onondaga County with 1,110 people recovered.

Recovering fiscally from the pandemic could prove to be challenging. June is a big month, ending the fiscal budget year.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said if federal aid doesn’t come there will be very tough decisions to be made.

“If you cut us you’re creating unfunded mandates and if there’s no money, then there’s no way around it. We need to cut into the bone. We’ve cut everything off, we’ve already cut parts of the bone with what we did midyear. We’re digging, we’re diving into the bone if we don’t get federal help and if we don’t get the state of New York to hold us harmless from further cuts,” said McMahon.

From concerts at Saint Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview to the Syracuse Nationals, events that would normally generate revenue for Onondaga County are being postponed.

“There’s so many things about this pandemic that’s just painful. And from the entertainment side of things, I mean we were going to have our best season ever at the amphitheater, the Nationals, the Fair bigger and better every year. So from the entertainment infrastructure, it’s brutal, on the opportunities the community is missing out on but in addition to that, the economic impact for these businesses, and then, look it, the loss of life has just been brutal as well. You see how bad this pandemic is when you look at all of the victims as a whole. It’s hitting all of us one way or the other.”

Tax payments in June will show the full financial impact of COVID-19 on Onondaga County.

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