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Cuyahoga County Executive announces employee furloughs, hiring freeze and expected budget cuts

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The Cuyahoga County Board of Health holds press conference updating citizens on the coronavirus pandemic on Friday mornings.

Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish announced two-week furloughs for county employees, a county-wide hiring freeze and a planned 15 percent budget cut at the May 1 Cuyahoga County Board of Health briefing.

Local governments, like Cuyahoga County, that rely on income and other taxes for budgets are projecting about a 20 percent loss in revenue.

He explained that local governments, like Cuyahoga County, that rely on income and other taxes for budgets are projecting about a 20 percent loss in revenue.

Budish said that the county anticipates a $76 million loss in revenue, and while the county received $215 million from the federal CARES Act that funding is limited and can only be spent on COVID-19 related expenses not on budget shortfalls.

Budish said that while the county is lobbying the federal government to change those restrictions, right now none of that money can be used to offset revenue losses.

We must be good and responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.

We must be good and responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” said Budish as he announced employees take two week furloughs, a hiring freeze and that he had asked departments to propose 15 percent budget cuts.

“Some people have urged us to wait before taking these budgeting measures they say that the federal government may give us more dollars that we can use to support our revenue losses in the budget and I understand that position. It may happen. I hope it happens and we're still working to make that happen. But it would be irresponsible to wait to start our money-saving moves,” said Budish. “The cuts we're making are hard, they're very difficult and they're painful but I can tell you that for every month that we wait if the federal government does not give us more money or more flexibility it'll just get harder and harder to fill our growing budget hole.”

Budish said that the county will continue to provide services to those in need.

Earlier in his comments he thanked Cuyahoga County voters for passing Issue 33, the health and human services levy.

The levy passed 70 to 30, which is a resounding testament to the generosity and compassion of our community.

The levy passed 70 to 30, which is a resounding testament to the generosity and compassion of our community,” said Budish. He went on to say that life has only gotten harder for those people who rely on the services that the health and human services levy funds and the new funding will help the county continue to offer those services.

Budish also gave an update on the county’s Small Business Stabilization Fund, saying that they received more than 900 applications for the funds on its first day, and 3,100 applications within a week. Budish said about half of the companies that applied were eligible to receive funding. He said that companies that won the grants will be notified this week and the county hopes to get the funds out next week. Budish also said that since the need is so great there will be a second round of grants and funding announced next Friday.

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