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Long Island News

Bellone Says 'Catastrophic' Deficit Requires Federal Support

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Office of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announces salary freezes as part of the county's efforts to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19.

Suffolk County says it needs federal aid to fill an $829 million budget deficit by the end of September.

The economic shutdown from COVID-19 has left Suffolk County facing up to a $1.5 billion budget deficit over the next 15 months.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone called the numbers “catastrophic.”

“We are in a financial emergency right now. There’s no other way to describe it. To say it is a fiscal crisis is not an accurate description. It is an emergency situation that has resulted from the response to COVID-19 essentially shutting down the economy.”

The county has frozen departmental spending and will lock down pay raises for some employees, possibly through 2021. Departments are looking at additional cuts.

Bellone says the county also plans to tap several existing taxpayer protection funds, some of which will require voter approval.

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