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Buffalo faces $35 million shortfall, could run out of money by Friday

The City of Buffalo has a $35 million year-to-date budget deficit and could run out of money by Friday, according to a report released Tuesday.

City Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams provided a year-to-date budget report for the city, which has been submitted to the Common Council, revealing a reduction in general revenues and sales tax receipts that Miller-Williams attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We are confronting a challenging time as a city. However the Department of Audit and Control continues to make it a priority to report and strengthen the City of Buffalo's financial operations," she said.

The report noted that as of April 22, year-to-date revenues were $341 million, while year-to-date expenses for the city were $376.4 million, a deficit of $35.4 million.

Miller-Williams further noted that the city's cash funds are projected to land in the negative by the end of the month and that cash disbursements are trending lower than projected. However, she said, the city and the Buffalo Board of Education are still expected to receive their state aid, which will result in a positive combined cash flow to the city through June.

With nine weeks of revenues and expenses still remaining to be recorded in the 2020 fiscal year, Miller-Williams said her office and the Department of Audit and Control Personnel will continue to collaborate with their partners in government during the current fiscally challenging times.

Meanwhile, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown still plans to release his 2021 budget proposal, as he is required to do by law. Brown has previously said he will have some tough decisions to be made.

Brown has also stressed the need for direct federal aid to local municipalities like Buffalo, which he has described as critical to helping the city.

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