City puts 104 employees on temporary leave without pay: Syracuse Acts on COVID-19 Fiscal Impacts as it Continues Delivering Services

Update by Mayor Walsh and Common Council President Helen Hudson

Hard times are ahead for municipalities, as cities, towns and villages deal with the economic impact of COVID-19 on their finances. Between property taxes and sales tax; sales tax is the most vulnerable as receipts move in sync with the economy.  When sales are bad those numbers go down. The largest source of sales tax revenue are auto sales after that you’re looking at retail and with the largest mall in New York State shuttered due to the pandemic the road moving forward is uncharted, as we’ve never been in a situation where we’ve paused our economy. As a result there’s a catastrophe brewing not just for Syracuse, but for every city in the United States.

The city of Syracuse moved quickly to lessen the blow to their budget by placing 104 city employees on temporary unpaid leave. These temporary layoffs are supposed to save the city between $20-30,000 weekly. At a press conference Mayor Walsh was joined by Syracuse Common Council President Helen Hudson who provided an update on the work of the Common Council and its review of the FY21 city budget. She urged residents to attend the budget public hearing which will be held online on Monday, May 4 at 5 p.m.

City puts 104 employees on temporary leave without pay in response to COVID-19 changes

Staff reductions have been primarily crossing guards and parks employees. According to a message from the mayor,” “Our intention is to eventually bring everyone back to work. Nonetheless, the disruption is painfulfor those impacted and their families. It weighs heavily on me, just as I know it does on all of you.”

In the newly published report according to the city, “For the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, the Administration estimates a reduction in sales tax revenue of $13.7million. While sales tax is expected to begin to rebound later this year, the City is projecting a $10.7 million dollar shortfall in the next fiscal year. Governor Cuomo has also indicated that municipalities may see a 20% cut in state aid.”

City of Syracuse COVID-19 Status Presentation “Click” on image to view status slide
Common Council conducts more than 60 meetings online as FY21 budget reviews carry on

Council President Helen Hudson reminded us of the personal toll of COVID-19: she’s lost two friends to the virus. Wearing a mask throughout her remarks, President Hudson urged residents to continue to practice social distancing and be safe.

Hudson also reported on the continued work of the Common Council during the month of April as it reviews the City’s upcoming FY21 budget amid the uncertainty of the pandemic. Councilors hosted 62 meetings as it conducted its annual comprehensive review of the Mayor’s proposed budget. She invited residents to join the public hearing on the budget to be held online on Monday, May 4 at 5 p.m.

Details on joining at

In addition to the basic announcement the city provided graphic representations to show the impact of COVID-19 on city services.

Syracuse Common Council Helen Hudson President COVID-19 Report

“Click” on image to view status slide

The City is providing regular updates on operations and services available to residents on social media: Regular Updates Facebook: @Syracuse1848Twitter: @Syracuse1848Instagram: @Syracuse1848