CITY OF UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) — In a typical year, the comets games would bring fans and from across the region and afterwards they might even hit a nearby restaurant. In April the American Hockey League canceled the rest of the 2019-2020 season due to the pandemic. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says this has caused a huge impact on the county’s revenue.
“We’re probably down a total of $4 million in sales tax. . . and I guess a big chunk of that is attributed to entertainment. . .The decline in sales tax is a decline in really activity.” – Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of September, the country’s unemployment rate is 7.9%. More people of out work means spending less and not going out as much. With many venues closed, including the comets games, residents have even less options for activities.
“It’s about everything that’s happening downtown. It’s the Stanley, it’s the other restaurants that feed off of all of the activities that go on. The Comets generate thousands in sales tax per night. So, you do the math over the course of a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars that benefit the City of Utica, as well as all of the County of Oneida.” – Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive
We asked how the county is trying to make up some of the revenue lost?
“Continuing to try to help those businesses that are closed to re-establish themselves and get open in phases at look at ways in which you know people can get back to work.” – Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive
For now, Picente says one way residents can help is by continuing to follow the COVID-19 guidelines so that we can overcome the pandemic and get back to a new normal.