In Spite Of Cutbacks, Chenango Feels Financial Pinch Of COVID

By: Shawn Magrath

CHENANGO COUNTY - Despite drastic cutbacks in spending and slight growth in sales tax in recent months, Chenango County's still feeling the financial pinch of the COVID age as local officials start bracing for what they say could be a more difficult 2021 fiscal year.

Since the pandemic took hold, the county has lowered monthly expenses by nearly half a million dollars. What's more, the county's treasurer office reported this month that while sales tax receipts were down 35 percent in April and May, they went up 8 percent in June, yielding an overall second quarter 2020 reduction in sales tax revenue of 17 percent.

Even with this small sliver of good economic news, there’s a persistent problem of lagging revenue from state aid and sales tax revenues compared to recent years, according to the Chenango County Treasurer’s Office. Year to date sales tax receipts are well behind 2019 by 4 percent.

“Even with a partially reopened economy, we feel it is unlikely we can overcome this reduction by year end,” said County Treasurer William Craine. “We continue to believe that 2020 will produce a modest deficit and that 2021 will be more difficult. In 2020, we had good [first quarter] sales tax receipts and our interest income budget was mostly earned before rates were cut to zero. Those results will not likely repeat themselves in 2021, costing us over $1 million.”

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