No formal deficit exists currently; potential further federal assistance could substantially reduce anticipated deficit
On Friday, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz signed an emergency order to modify section 2511 of the Erie County Charter and extend the administration’s deadline for completing a plan to close an anticipated budget deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The order extends the deadline for completing a plan from seven days to 30 days and allows for potential, as-yet-unrealized federal assistance to be factored in.
Erie County has already acted to improve its fiscal position through actions such as instituting fund blocks, freezing nonessential hires, and delaying certain large payments.
“My administration is taking this looming fiscal crisis with the utmost seriousness and, while we have already acted in numerous ways to address anticipated budgetary shortfalls, more work remains to be done. Erie County is facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis, brought on through no fault of our own, and it is important that we have an appropriate amount of time to put a plan into place that will best address that crisis,” Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. “It’s important to remember that Erie County does not have a deficit at this time, and indeed the first quarter of 2020 ended with a modest positive variance, so any formal deficit declaration is premature. Additionally, based on my conversations with NACO and NYSAC as well as Sen. Schumer, I believe that a fourth coronavirus response bill will be introduced in the coming weeks, and that substantial financial assistance for Erie County is likely to be included in this legislation. Extending our deadline to 30 days will allow us to fully incorporate whatever federal aid may be coming into the plan and prepare a deficit closing plan that accurately reflects the state of Erie County’s finances and the resources we have available.”