Robert Pemberton, an organizer of a protest held in the wake of George Floyd’s death, addresses protesters in downtown Poughkeepsie.
The City of Poughkeepsie removed around $500,000 from its police and fire department budgets for this year, Mayor Rob Rolison announced Thursday, as the city continues to grapple with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the city said there are no layoffs of officers or firefighters, the savings will be reflected in a hiring freeze on vacant positions.
“Like everyone else, city officials have faced considerable challenges during this crisis,” Rolision said. “With the help of our department heads, we have kept pace with a rapidly changing landscape, while continuing to provide uninterrupted essential services.”
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The annual police budget in the city is roughly $14.8 million, and the fire department budget is roughly $6.5 million, city officials said.
Earlier this year, the city announced it is expected to see a $5.1 million shortfall in its 2020 budget, with $4.7 million in state aid at risk pending state decisions in the fourth quarter.
As of Thursday, the city said it was able to eliminate $1.5 million in expenses as part of a first round of budget cuts. Part of this included a 15% reductions in spending to all departments with a hiring freeze for all departments except those dealing with but public safety. The release noted numbers are fluid and subject to revision.
“Without a fund balance, revenue shortfalls must be met by expense-side cuts,” Rolison said. “Through June 30, the City has reduced general fund spending by more than $2.5 million, when compared to the same period last year.”
Rolison said federal aid is “essential” in continuing local government operations.
“As the debate in Washington over the nature of the next round of economic stimulus drags into summer, communities will suffer the consequences,” Rolison said. “Make no mistake, these will not be the consequences of COVID-19. They will be the result of failing to include state and local governments in whatever final agreement is reached between the House and the Senate.”
Katelyn Cordero: firstname.lastname@example.org; 845-437-4870; Twitter: @KatelynCordero.
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