The 2014 Erie County budget approved by the Erie County Legislature last week, with no tax rate increase, was officially put in place when County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued his budget statement and stated he would issue no vetoes.

Because of this action, County Legislature Chairperson Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo) cancelled the budget override session scheduled for Tuesday, December 10.

“We are providing the services necessary for the proper and efficient operations of county government that our constituents support, and without raising the tax rate,” County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo), said. “The budget provides for public safety, economic development, infrastructure work, social services and our cultural organizations.”

The $1.39 billion budget includes $467,000 in amendments, matched dollar-to-dollar in spending cuts and restorations, proposed and approved by the Democratic Majority. The amendments addressed needs in the Department of Social Services, Department of Environment and Planning, Parks, Recreation and Forestry, the Olmsted Parks, Erie County Medical Center Corporation and other departments.

One amendment approved allocates $25,000 for the Department of Social Services to fund a study of chronic child neglect in Erie County, which will give the department guidance on how to proactively address this serious issue and offer solutions. The Finance and Management/Budget Committee, chaired by Legislator Timothy R. Hogues (D-Buffalo), approved $25,000 for the study, which will give the department guidance on how to proactively address this serious issue and offer solutions.

“Erie County has more reports of suspected child abuse or maltreatment than its comparable counties, and this study will help find out why,” Chairperson Grant said. “If we are going to address this disturbing trend, Social Services must better understand the issues locally causing chronic neglect and must address the chronic child neglect issue immediately with comprehensive data.”

Also restored in amendments was funding for the Department of Environment and Planning to publish an annual Employment Training Resource guide. The DEP funds will survey 80 local providers on their training programs and assemble the information in the resource guide, which will be distributed to job trainers, funders and employers.

“This budget provides a basis for Erie County proceeding in a fiscally responsible manner in 2014,” Legislator Hogues said. “The Finance and Management/Budget Committee, which I was fortunate to chair for the last two years, wisely deliberated and approved funding for public safety, infrastructure, economic development and cultural tourism.”

Chairperson Grant and Legislator Hogues also pointed to the funding of a Buffalo Convention Center needs analysis and for the purchase of a Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Bookmobile.

Along with Legislator Hogues, Legislator Lynn M. Marinelli (D-Buffalo, Tonawanda) serves as the committee vice chair, Legislator Thomas A. Loughran (D-Amherst) and Majority Leader Thomas J. Mazur (D-Buffalo, Cheektowaga) are among the committee members, and Chairperson Grant serves on the committee as an ex-officio member.