Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone warned business owners and individuals who lose revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic may have to borrow for seven months before gaining income. That, he said, will force them to pay the money back with interest.
A Fiscal Impact Task Force, an independent panel Bellone announced the formation of April 16, will conduct an extensive review of the county’s multi-year plan and determine the financial impact the the novel coronavirus has had on it.
“As tax revenue declines, municipal budgets that rely on this steady stream of funding will face significant challenges to fund governmental operations,” Bellone said. “This task force brings together a group of independent financial experts from across the region to examine the full impact that COVID-19 is having on county finances. I am grateful for the members’ willingness to serve in a voluntary capacity and look forward to the work that they will be doing.”
This task force brings together a group of independent financial experts from across the region. It includes Emily Youssouf, a former managing director at JP Morgan Securities; Nathan Leventhal, a former president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Larian Angelo, a senior fellow at the City University of New York’s Institute for State and Local Governance; and Michael W. Kelly, president and CEO of The Municipal Credit Company.
If during deliberations the task force requires technical accounting guidance, a review will be sought by the independent Government Financial Officers Association, of which Suffolk County is a member. Upon its review, the task force will make recommendations on ways to improve fiscal position of the county during this economic downturn.
The public health crisis has put significant stress on the administration of public services, as well as municipal budgets. The epidemic has resulted in drastically reduced consumer spending coupled with an increased spike in unemployment, which in turn has plummeted the sales tax and income tax revenues throughout the country. The increase in unemployment has also forced more residents onto Medicaid, the costs to which local governments also must contribute.