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Erie County officials working overtime to rectify 2020 tax bill error

Erie County residents will receive corrected tax bills, and people who overpaid on their taxes will receive refunds.
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ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — Erie County officials are working overtime to try and rectify a "technical error" involving 2020 tax bills.

The error involved college chargeback totals to municipalities, which is described as "costs incurred by municipalities when Erie County residents attend community colleges in other counties."

"Unfortunately the chargeback amount that was in the adopted budget was left in the tax bills that were already sent out" said Erie County Director of Real Property Tax Services Scott Bylewski. 

2 On Your Side asked Bylewski how much this error is going to cost taxpayers to fix. 

"Well right now we are assessing the overall cost because there are, there is the printing, there is postage, associated labor that would go in with it," said Bylewski. "There are some software companies that we are working with to help smooth this over as quickly as possible. So, I do not have a final cost figure as of yet."

According to a statement on Erie County's website, Erie County residents will receive corrected tax bills and people who already overpaid on their taxes will receive refunds.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued a statement Saturday night on Facebook.

"Errors such as this are unacceptable," he said. "As such, a team has been working throughout the weekend to address this issue and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I apologize to all county taxpayers affected by this issue."

In the statement on its website Erie County says "the total amount overcharged countywide at the time of the error’s discovery was $4.4 million."

It amounts to a refund of roughly 6.79 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Erie County officials held a conference call on Monday to discuss the error with city, town, and village clerks. 

Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo said municipalities in his district have expressed concerns about the error.

"Their concerns are the costs that are going to be associated with mailing out new tax bills, with processing refunds, processing errors and whether or not they have enough money in their budgets to cover that," said Lorigo. "Whether they have enough people to do the work, whether they have enough money budgeted."

Lorigo said he is working to arrange a special meeting with the Erie County Legislature to discuss the matter. 

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