County executive delivers on-time budget for ninth consecutive year; provides for ongoing pandemic response, significant property tax reduction, over $26 million in road and infrastructure funding
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued the following statement Thursday pursuant to the Erie County Legislature’s 7-4 vote to approve the administration’s proposed 2021 budget, which funds ongoing county COVID-19 response and also reduces the county property tax rate to $4.43 per $1,000 of assessed value, the lowest it has been since 2005:
“The proposed 2021 budget was challenging to create due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the related pressures that it is putting on county government and our entire community. I thank Chairwoman April Baskin, Majority Leader Timothy Meyers and legislators Howard Johnson, Kevin Hardwick, Lisa Chimera, John Gilmour and Jeanne Vinal for supporting the proposed 2021 budget, with minor amendments,” Poloncarz said. “The Erie County Division of Budget and Management worked very closely for months with all county departments and cooperative independent elected officials to identify ways to reduce their budgets while still providing an appropriate level of service to the public. Their efforts, along with close scrutiny of other county investments, were critical in bridging an $82 million budget gap and shaping the 2021 budget. While the position we are in was not forced on us by any mistake or action of our own, tough but fair and responsible decisions needed to be made. I thank the Budget Division and everyone who took part in this difficult but essential process.”
Poloncarz continued, “The 2021 budget invests in our community’s health with over $20 million in funding for ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, an essential investment as we continue to advocate for further federal relief. Public health is our foremost responsibility and this budget underscores my administration’s commitment to protecting it. We are also putting more money in property owner’s pockets by dropping the property tax rate by 6%, reaching a low that rate hasn’t seen since 2005. This budget also invests $26.7 million in our infrastructure, maintains needed investments in our arts and cultural sector, and shares modest revenue growth with the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.”
“Erie County has always overcome challenges when we work together, and as today’s legislative vote indicates, together we will move forward,” he added.
Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said the budget has “nearly $4 million in pork barrel spending, raises taxes, and cuts funding to law enforcement.”