Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued a stark warning in regard to the 2013 Budget amendments offered by the Minority Caucus of the Erie County Legislature at its Finance and Management and Budget Committee.
In a letter, Poloncarz warned that the $8,514,324 in cuts offered by the Minority caucus are irresponsible and would immediately cause the 2013 Budget to be out of balance. Additionally, the insufficient funding for the 2013 mandated costs along with significant funding gaps for future years that will be a result of this amendment package could lead the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority (“ECFSA”) to impose a control period on Erie County.
Poloncarz said, “No one wants to propose or vote for a property tax increase. However, given the increases in mandated costs and reductions in other revenues we are seeing for next year, this was the option of last resort and the only responsible thing to do in order to preserve the quality of life programs and services residents have demanded.”
“The Minority Caucus’ amendments are irresponsible and reckless and will create a significant budget shortfall on day one (January 1, 2013). When you [the Legislature] consider any final amendments, I urge your Honorable Body to reject these amendments which would return the County to the days of fiscal instability.”
The County Executive further noted that when ECFSA approved the County’s proposed 2013 Budget and Four Year Financial Plan on October 26th, it stated that the administration’s estimates for various accounts were “reasonable” and “conservative,” an affirmation that the math in the Minority Caucus’ amendments does not add up and would lead to an unbalanced Budget and Four Year Plan.
Poloncarz added, “The Minority Caucus’ unwillingness to provide any evidence or data to support their proposed cuts during committee speaks volumes. As County Executive, I vowed never to return to the type of budget gimmicks and risky schemes that lead us into the ‘Red-Green’ fiscal crisis, and I will do everything possible to prevent the Minority Caucus from taking us back down that path.”
The County Legislature now has until December 4th to adopt the budget, including any changes they wish to incorporate. Should the County Executive veto any items added or increased by the Legislature, the Legislature will have until December 11th to approve any veto overrides before the budget is considered adopted.
Click here for an electronic copy of: The Budget Message & Summary, Book A (Operating Funds), and Book B (Special Funds).
A copy of the letter sent to the Erie County Legislature on November 28, 2012 regarding the Minority Caucus’ proposed amendments is attached below.