Erie County to Pay Cash for Major Settlement

4:53 PM, Feb 24, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An about face from Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz in a fight with the legislature over how to pay for a lawsuit settlement.

Last week, members of the legislature and Poloncarz were squabbling over how much to borrow to settle the lawsuit involving a woman who nearly drown in a County operated pool.

Thursday, Channel 2 received a news release from Republicans in the legislature including Minority Caucus Leader John Mills, and Legislators Lynne Dixon, Kevin Hardwick, Joseph Lorigo and Edward Rath. It stated that they had approved a resolution, submitted by Poloncarz, to pay for the settlement in cash using money from sales tax revenue and risk retention dollars.

"The Minority Caucus is pleased with the outcome and the decision to pay for the settlement in cash and avoid unnecessary borrowing. It has been our position that paying the settlement with available funds was the best option. In these difficult economic times, it is imperative that we not rely on the county's credit card, increase debt and force future generations to pay for it. The county is in a good financial position to be able to pay the entire $7 million and solve this issue today. The agreement to pay for the settlement in cash protects the taxpayers' interests, present and future."

This after news that the County's sales tax actually exceeded the anticipated budgeted amount for 2011 by over $14 million.

We placed a call to a spokesperson for County Executive Poloncarz seeking comment about this settlement. That call has not yet been returned.

Here's what the county executive had to say about the legislature's stance last week:

"Unfortunately, what that argument, which has been rendered by a couple members of the legislature shows their ignorance with regards to cash flow, their ignorance with regards to budgeting issues," Poloncarz said last week. "What we're talking about is not cash on hand. The County has cash on hand, just because we finished the collection of taxes on February 15th. What we're talking about is whether we have enough money in the budget to pay for it."

Subject to approval, the resolution will allow the County to pay the $7 million bill before it is due March 5.



























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