Lawmakers Divided Over Erie County Budget

9:48 AM, Nov 30, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Erie County Executive's proposed budget is in the hands of the county legislature.

Lawmakers are combing through it, looking for savings and places to cut.

The budget includes a 3.4% property tax increase which County Executive Mark Poloncarz argues is needed to pay for the services county residents tell him they want retained or restored.

The eleven member legislature has been pouring over the numbers and met Thursday in County Hall to talk about it.
By a razor thin one vote majority, five Republicans and one Democrat do not want the tax increase.

Five other Democrats are for a tax increase.

"Right now, we're trying to see what we can do over the weekend to get some consensus," Democrat Betty Jean Grant said. "There might be some compromise, we don't know."

Republican Erie County Legislator, Joseph Lorigo, said "we have found what we believe is the fat that was placed in the proposed budget."

Meanwhile, Poloncarz continued to argue for the property tax increase.

"We can't make phony, false cuts, sham cuts, on a document and assume that the expenses are going to disappear, because they won't."

Legislators will meet over the weekend to continue to look for common ground on the $1.5 billion budget.

In the end, the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority will have to approve the final budget.

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