Poloncarz unveils proposed 2019 county budget

Cut in property tax rate plus reaction from county legislators

Mike Baggerman
October 12, 2018 - 2:46 pm

2019 Proposed Erie County Budget. October 12, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Categories: 

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz unveiled his proposed budget for 2019 on Friday afternoon at the Rath Building.

The approximate cost of the 2019 proposed budget, which still needs approval from the Erie County Legislature, is $1,692,923,026. 

VIEW A BUDGET SUMMARY HERE

Most of of the funds ($785 million) go to Health and Human Services. About $392 million goes towards economic and community development, $191 million to public safety, $130 million to general services, and the remainder to be split towards education and libraries, administration and management, the general fund, and across the county. 

The projected revenue of the budget is primarily attained via sales tax. Poloncarz predicted around $810 million in projected sales tax. 

Poloncarz' budget proposal features a property tax rate cut of two percent, something he said is the largest decrease in over a decade. The current property tax rate is $4.95 per $1,000 of the assessed value. The new one would reduce the property tax rate by nine cents. 

$32 million in road work will also be included while another $2 million will be used to purchase new heavy equipment such as dump trucks, plows, and front-end loaders. Funding will also go towards SUNY Erie, libraries, plus arts and cultural groups. $3.2 million will go towards capital improvement at Erie County parks.

Republican Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said prior to the presentation that the budget was an example of the Trump tax cuts working.

"There's more money in the hands of families and not government," Mychajliw said. "That translated to a multi-million dollar increase in sales tax revenue."

Mychajliw also criticized the Poloncarz administration for an $177 million increase in government spending since 2012. 

Erie County Legislator and Minority Leader Joe Lorigo said after the proposed budget was released that the lowered tax rate was a positive but, like Mychajliw, questioned overall government spending. 

"Take a look at the jobs that the county executive has added to the budget over the past several years, whether through the budget or the middle of the year," Lorigo said. "We don't need to keep adding jobs after jobs after jobs. The answer isn't always spending more. Sometimes you need to do better with what you have."

Poloncarz said the increased spending is generally associated with the incremental raises for county employees. 

"When you have over 4,000 employees directly with Erie County, 5,000 indirectly, it's related to that," Poloncarz said while noting that Mychajliw was disingenuous over past examples of praising new contracts. 

Erie County Legislative Chairman Peter Savage said he was pleased with the investment in cultural programs in Erie County and noted they will do a thorough review of the budget. 

The legislature has until December to take action. 

 

 

Comments ()