Kingston mayor Steve Noble has proposed a three-phase cutback plan to the Common Council to address the impending deficit to the 2020 city governmental budget.
The first phase, which Noble said will take place immediately, involves departmental budget cuts, a hiring freeze and overtime pay reductions.
The second phase would be implemented on June 1 if mid-range estimates become “more realistic” based on early sales-tax returns or state cuts in local aid. Temporary layoffs would be put into effect, causing an impact on the delivery of some city services. There’d be a targeted retirement incentive for eligible city employees.
The third and most drastic phase, which would be implemented September 1 if the fiscal outlook showed signs of a high-loss scenario, would include permanent layoffs and severe cuts in city services.
Kingston expects to collect drastically less sales and property-tax revenue than the 2020 budgeted estimates. Other income sources such as investment interest, parking revenue, fees, permits and others are also affected. Noble and city comptroller John Tuey expect Kingston city government revenue decreases between $2.5 and five million dollars.
Like many state, county and municipal officials, Noble is hoping for a federal bailout of local government. “It has become clear that we should prepare ourselves in the event that the federal government fails to adequately aid our city and, in turn, our ability to deliver essential services to residents,” he said in a statement. “If our federal government will not take desperately-needed action, we’ll be forced to make very difficult decisions.”