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New Legislative task force to address economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19

Post Date:06/10/2020 3:39 pm

In anticipation of the economic shortfalls due to COVID-19 that could affect Albany County, Legislature Chair Andrew Joyce is creating a task force to address any trends or issues that directly impact the upcoming 2021 budget and provide economic development strategies for small businesses who have been drastically effected.

The Albany County COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force will be led by Audit and Finance Committee Chair Wanda Willingham, Deputy Chair Matthew Peter and Senior Budget Analyst Eric Ford as well as Albany County Legislator Jeff Perlee.

"The Albany County Legislature has been hard at work since the beginning of this pandemic. We’ve been passing mission critical legislation to keep County government running." Joyce said. "We must begin the work necessary now and conduct the analysis that will result in smart, responsible budgets and an aggressive and proactive economic development strategy."

Members of the task force will review the current economic conditions related to COVID-19 and formulate a plan to, but not limited to, addressing anticipated revenue shortfalls in order to put forward a spending plan that best serves employees, taxpayers and residents of Albany County. In addition, members will formulate an economic development plan to provide relief for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

"I am committed to helping Albany County maintain a budget that reflects its needs county-wide while providing a sound financial basis for its adoption by the County Legislature," stated Willingham. "In this time of financial challenges, with reduced resources available for program operation, I believe that we need to take a fresh look at budgetary priorities. I also believe that we cannot do so without working to improve the economic circumstances of those working in the community to better our economy such as our small businesses. This task force will allow the Legislature to more fully examine the financial challenges we face while helping to find more equitable economic development opportunities for small business owners."

"I am proud to serve on the committee alongside Audit and Finance Chair Wanda Willingham and the other members and staff," Peter said. "While the COVID-19 crisis has created a lot of uncertainty and economic distress we are dedicated to making sure Albany County and all the other communities within come out stronger at the end. While examining this precarious situation, we must make sure that all the communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 get the resources they need. We must look to better our economy and services to create an equity agenda."

Ford stated, "Albany County is facing an economic environment in the coming years filled with much uncertainty, but it will clearly have significant challenges to maintaining budgetary income sources in a depression era economy as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis. Moreover, the County’s small businesses that have been ravaged by scaled back operations and closings to maintain social distancing will need a reinvigorated economic development programming to assist in recovery. The Economic Recovery Task Force will be essential in helping to provide a roadmap to Albany County government and its small businesses for a complete financial recovery."

"This is an unprecedented challenge facing the County and its going to require unprecedented creativity and effort," Perlee said. "I congratulate Chair Andrew Joyce for establishing this task force. I look forward to working with my colleagues and will work to ensure that the needs and views of all county residents, including those in the rural and suburban areas, are taken into full consideration."

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