City, county leaders 'disappointed' that stimulus package doesn't include aid for state, local governments
The federal government’s decision to not include funding for state and local governments in the latest stimulus package is disappointing, according to City of Batavia and Genesee County municipal officials.
“It is very disappointing, especially considering that our frontline workers – our police and fire personnel – have been dealing with COVID for many months and we could really use that money right now,” Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski said today.
On Sunday, Congressional leaders agreed to a $900 billion stimulus bill that, per a report in The Washington Post, will release a second stimulus check of up to $600 to qualifying adults and their dependent children -- but not dependent adults.
The package also extends a federal unemployment benefit check of $300 per week for another 11 weeks and the Payroll Protection Program to cover employee wages.
Democrats were unable to deliver direct funding to states and local governments, but they were successful in getting $22 billion to help municipalities with expenses such as COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
Tabelski said the city continues on its COVID-19 austerity budget this year, and isn’t planning on any revenues from the federal government as it embarks on its 2021-22 budget that takes effect on April 1. Staff is working on the spending plan now, she noted.
“We are projecting 20-percent cuts in state aid next year, and we’re still operating under that premise for this year,” she said.
She also said it is “concerning” that Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated he may put off drafting the state’s 2021-22 budget until February or March as he holds out hope for federal support.
“We are planning our budget and they are going to wait in Albany. Normally, the state puts out a (preliminary) budget in the first few weeks of January. It is another challenge we have to face, but we’ll get through it,” she said.
Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said, “I’m definitely disappointed in the fact that no money is there for state and local governments, but I’m glad that there is was a package put together that benefits a large number of our citizens in other ways – with the stimulus checks, with extending unemployment benefits, with additional assistance for fighting COVID."
Landers said that since he had already budgeted for 20-percent less in state aid, “the lack of a relief for the state government should not have any further impact on us.”
“I budgeted very conservatively, assuming we wouldn’t get any relief and, so far, it looks like it was a good idea,” he added.