LISBON, N.Y. (WWNY) - A new bill making its way through Congress aims to bolster local governments.
“It’s been a devastating year financially for all local municipalities,” Lisbon town supervisor William Nelson said.
Nelson saw his town’s state and federal aid slashed by nearly $125,000 in 2020, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whether it’s layoffs or reduction of services, but definitely 2020 has been a devastating year.”
“Our localities have been determined to help in whatever ways they can to fight COVID-19 in their areas, but we know there’s a cost to the sacrifices,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said.
Schumer says since the pandemic began, 1.4 million state and local workers in the U.S. have been laid off, 41,000 of them New Yorkers.
Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are pushing for direct federal relief for suffering municipalities.
“I’m optimistic that with the majority leader now being Chuck, with him at the helm, we will be able to deliver this much-needed aid to the states as well as support for specifically local governments in the form of our bill The Direct Support for Communities Act,” Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand says the act would complement state relief funding and would be split 50-50, half to cities, towns, and villages and half to counties.
“We know that we need the help,” Schumer said.
If money doesn’t come, towns Like Lisbon would have to look at more layoffs or higher taxes to offset losses.
“There are tough decisions that we would have to make,” Nelson said, “and we would look forward to any relief we could get definitely.”
Schumer and Gillibrand say the bill has bipartisan support in the Senate and they hope to see it pass in the first few weeks of the Biden administration.
Exactly how much money would be made available has not been determined.