SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced on Friday a plan for more than $18 million in cuts to the city budget to mitigate the large gap in revenue created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These cuts span all departments of city governments — and could also put budding city initiatives on the chopping block before they can even take off.
Joe Driscoll, one of the Syracuse Common Councilors tasked with approving the passage of these cuts, says that though the drastic measures were inevitable — especially after months of inaction by the federal government — it doesn’t make them any less heartbreaking.
This is a bad situation for everyone. We’re not eager to look into this and to pass this, but I think we also have to be realistic and look into the cuts that need to be made.Joe Driscoll — District 5, Syracuse Common Council
Driscoll says the community will really start to feel the effects of these cuts as losses in their community. Programs people take for granted like parks, pools, and youth programs all have uncertain futures.
Even more so are the pilot programs and initiatives that the city was just starting, like the removal of snow from sidewalks, and the crackdown of lead paints in homes.
“I often think of that analogy ‘building a house and knocking a house down'”, says Driscoll. “Building a house takes so much time, and knocking it down can take just a few hours. It’s the same thing with all these initiatives and things we’ve pushed for with city government.”
Driscoll says he does not know which exact programs will be affected but says that it will be hard to justify spending on some newer projects while departments are cutting their budgets by 10% to 20%.