City of Middletown projects $5.1 million deficit from COVID-19

Middletown City Hall

MIDDLETOWN – The City of Middletown is feeling the financial pinch just as every other municipality in the state is because of the economic shutdown as a result of COVID-19.

Mayor Joseph DeStefano told the common council Tuesday night the city faces a $5.1 million projected cash shortfall. “The only way out is the federal government,” he told city lawmakers.

Short of that, there will have to be a lot of belt-tightening in the city, the mayor said.

“My personal thinking is that if all else fails the State of New York, aside from having this major war on the national level – and hopefully things change in November if that is what does happen, but in the short-term New York State is probably going to do what they did with pensions in 2008 when the market went south and they did finance with Liberty Bonds,” he said. “I believe they called them, where they gave 40- or 50-year bonds issuance and they allowed communities to finance their deficits at that time.”

The $5.1 million deficit equates to about 25 percent of the tax base and if all else fails, taxes could be raised as much, DeStefano said.

Right now, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has a bill before it that would provide Middletown with $5.4 million, but its future is unclear.

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