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City pushes for relief funding

The City of Warren is projecting a $750,000 decline in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, city officials are attempting to lobby hard for the Senate to pick up the House-approved $3.5 trillion HEROES Act which, among a host of other relief measures, would provide direct aid to affected municipalities.

The legislation, passed by the House of Representatives back in May, would also authorize stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per individual.

Warren County’s representative, Glenn Thompson, voted in opposition to the bill.

“The City, along with other Pennsylvania local governments, will be lobbying Senator (Pat) Toomey to vote in favor of direct local assistance municipalities,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said in an email to city council, the city’s unions and the Times Observer on Thursday. “Senator Casey supports direct federal aid to local governments.”

In that email, she outlined the city’s financial situation.

“As you are no doubt aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with Warren’s 2020 approved operating budget; it is likely that repercussions from the pandemic will be felt for several year,” Freenock wrote. “The city’s estimated loss of revenue – due to unemployment and plummeting tax revenue – is $750,000.”

With a total budget of just over $12 million, Freenock said the losses total six percent of the city’s revenues, though she told the Times Observer that the city is “ok so far” from a cash flow perspective.

“I am asking that you contact your respective union leadership to ask that they lobby Senator Toomey. His vote is critical to assuring that local municipalities receive the aid needed,” she wrote. A bill has been approved in the Congress and is to be put before the Senate within the next 12 days. If passed, the City will receive much needed, direct financial assistance from the federal government.”

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