Franklin County eyes cuts as revenues are expected to decline
MALONE — On paper, Franklin County’s finances are in pretty good shape.
365体育网站 But the actual situation is far less rosy, county Treasurer Fran Perry told the Board of Legislators on Wednesday, and county Manager Donna Kissane proposed more measures to rein in county spending.
365体育网站 The county’s books show that revenues so far this year totaled $35.8 million as of Monday, Perry said. However, the actual amount of money that has come in is $25.8 million, she said.
The discrepancy, Perry explained, the because the state requires the county to include its entire tax levy — about $17 million — as revenue at the start of the year. However, the county has so far taken in only about half that amount, resulting in the difference between on-paper revenues and actual dollars that have come in, she said.
365体育网站 The county so far has spent about $24 million this year, Perry said, noting that, in a normal year, the county’s financial picture would look good. But with expenses nearly equal to actual revenues and expected drops in several sizeable county revenues streams, that picture looks far more grim.
“We know that we’re going to see a significant drop” in revenues moving forward, Perry said.
Two of the biggest sources of county sales tax revenues — auto sales and gasoline purchases — are expected to fall off dramatically because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Kissane said. The state’s orders restricting travel outside the home and closing businesses deemed nonessential have brought car sales to a halt, and even though gas prices are the lowest they have been in many years, people are not taking advantage of them because of the travel restrictions and the fact there is essentially nowhere for them to go, she said.
Kissane did note that the county budget actually reduced the amount of projected sales tax revenues from $24.8 million last year to $24 million in the current year, but said she didn’t think the reduction would cover the actual loss.
Legislator Paul Maroun, R-Tupper Lake, said his community has already canceled several large events planned for this summer that traditionally boost sales and occupancy tax receipts. The impact, on his community and the county as a whole, “is going to be huge, unfortunately,” he said.
In response to the anticipated shortfalls, Kissane imposed a freeze on county employee travel outside Franklin County and said only “truly essential”365体育网站 vacancies in the county workforce would be filled.
Legislature Chairman Don Dabiew, D-Bombay, cautioned that even more draconian measures may be needed in the days ahead. If the economic situation does not turn around soon, the county may consider cutting some positions, he said.