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Suffolk County Warns Of Layoffs, Spending Cuts Due To Budget Crisis

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Office of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone gives an update to residents via Facebook earlier this month.

Suffolk County’s budget director told lawmakers this week to prepare for potential layoffs and other spending cuts to make up for an expected shortfall of at least $800 million. 

Budget Director Eric Naughton says county legislators could consider delaying employee paychecks and laying off 200 employees. Suffolk County could also cut bus routes, close parks, reevaluate outside contracts and bump up taxes.

Bellone has already cut discretionary spending by 5%, and lawmakers have increased borrowing to cover payroll in the short term.

It’s all to make up for lost revenue from reduced commuting and consumer spending due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The projection does not include the impact of a potential second wave of infection or another economic shutdown. A COVID-19 fiscal impact task force says Suffolk's shortfall could be up to $1.5 billion over the next three years.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.
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