The 2013 Erie County Budget: It’s a Thing

It includes everything the voters said they wanted. It includes a minimal property tax increase – smaller than what Collins imposed when he came to office. It takes care of new, expensive mandates from the state. It is in balance, and the control board has signed off on it. “It” is County Executive Poloncarz’s proposed 2013 budget.

By contrast, the Republican minority, joined by Democrat Tom Loughran, are pushing an alternative budget with no tax increase, but one that the control board is unhappy with, and one which will be woefully out of balance.

James Sampson, chairman of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, also told legislators that the control board has concerns over how the proposed cuts would impact the budget – including how jail overtime would be managed to stay within budget and how the county would meet additional projections for savings for vacant positions. The board last month found Poloncarz’s budget projections reasonable, but has identified potential “risk” factors in both Poloncarz’s proposed budget and the changes proposed by the legislators.

The stability authority operates currently in a “soft” advisory status, but its members could determine whether to remain advisory or increase its oversight to a “hard” control board if they find the budget is out of balance early next year.

“No one wants that latter option to happen,” Sampson said. “The county executive doesn’t. We don’t, and I’m sure the people and the Legislature don’t want to see the control board having to go hard again.”

Here, Poloncarz makes his final pitch for doing the fiscally right and responsible thing.

Republican Legislator Joseph Lorigo gets honorable mention for best demagoguery:

“Quite frankly, I’ve never seen people fight so hard to increase taxes.”

Well, he must not have been around when Chris Collins did so in 2008.


  • Well, he must not have been around when Chris Collins did so in 2009.

    Yes, but aren’t you forgetting (?) to mention the other side of that same inconsistency coin?

    Your side – including Poloncarz as comptroller, and you, and most importantly Poloncarz as county exec candidate in 2011 – all very heavily attacked Collins for that tax hike.  

    Candidate Poloncarz successfully made that one of his major themes against Collins, and also repeatedly said that he (Poloncarz) didn’t intend to raise county taxes.

    Now in his first budget, he not only continues the Collins tax hike which he’d previously attacked so much (How come nobody ever points that out, by the way?) – he also tries to add his own tax hike in addition, contrary to what he said when campaigning.

    So Lorgio isn’t the only one with a conveniently selective memory.

    Good for the legislature if it refuses the tax hike.  Even better would be to include more certain cuts, but  their reported approach is the next best possibility if they can’t get six votes for doing that. 

    There’s a chance they’ll be correct that the budget lines they’re reducing will be okay.  There seems to be some precedent to predict that.  If they’re wrong, then some cuts can happen during the year.  Even considering mandates, it’s difficult to believe that there isn’t $8.5M of unneeded or inefficient spending in a $1.4B budget.  It’s well under 1%.  This might motivate the administration to find cost savings ideas that it otherwise might not have made as much effort for.  Maybe it also will give Poloncarz added leverage in contract negotiations with county employees.


  • We’re certainly glad that….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.