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Poloncarz enacts 2019 Erie County budget, joins legislators to present highlights


Tue, Dec 11th 2018 06:45 pm

2019 adopted budget includes property tax rate cut of 2.2%, largest decrease in over a decade

11-cent drop in tax rate allows county to stay under NYS-imposed tax cap

Adopted budget contains increased funding for roads, cyber security infrastructure, capital work

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined Tuesday by Erie County Legislature Chairman Peter Savage (3rd District), Legislature Majority Leader April Baskin (2nd District) and Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams (1st District) to present highlights of the recently adopted 2019 Erie County budget, which was passed by the legislature last week in an 8-3 vote. The adopted budget contains the largest county tax rate decrease in over a decade – 2.2 percent, or 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed value – along with robust investments in roads, cyber security and the “people’s mandates.”

“A tax rate decrease of 11 cents is significant and is just one of the highlights of the adopted budget,” Poloncarz said. “The 2019 adopted budget wisely invests in our infrastructure, protects and maintains the programs and services that county residents depend on, and, most importantly, does not create a budgetary hole this year and into the future, which could possibly have happened. Thankfully, my administration was able to work with legislators who were focused on doing the work of the people rather than their party, and because of this bipartisan spirit we were able to craft a budget that works for our constituents.”

In addition to the steep tax decrease, the adopted budget calls for $72 million in capital project work, including more than $30 million for county roads and bridges; and it will add $3.75 million in capital (bonded) funds to the 2019 capital budget for capital overlay projects. The budget also increases the capital overlay program (countywide) pay-as-you-go project by $1 million to $8.5 million for additional road work. In addition, Erie County will bond $350,000 for cyber security improvements in the Department of Central Police Services.

Among other funding priorities, the 2019 adopted budget:

•Increases the maximum allowable award for operation primetime vendor funding from $10,000 to $15,000

•Provides $90,000 in funding to the Buffalo Naval and Serviceman’s Park

•Provides $125,000 in funding to the Buffalo City Mission

•Provides $261,700 in funding to Erie County Soil and Water Conservation

•Provides $114,846 in funding to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens

Important public health and safety initiatives are also a part of the 2019 adopted budget, such as $750,000 in funding to combat lead poisoning, $250,000 to help combat a cluster of six types of cancer identified in the West Cheektowaga/East Buffalo area, and provide funding to a “Crime Stoppers” initiative, in conjunction with Central Police Services, as reward money for information leading to a conviction in a crime where a firearm was used.

“The adopted budget provides for the services, programs, and cultural agencies that our residents value and, in many cases, these organizations received more funding in 2019 than in the past. We are working to protect public health, enhance our quality of life, and continue Erie County’s growth,” Poloncarz added.

A number of cultural and community organizations will receive funding through the adopted budget, including the African-American Cultural Center, People United for Sustainable Housing, the Old First Ward Community Association, Save the Michael’s and the Rural Outreach Center.

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