The Erie County Legislature announces that $5 million has been allocated for additional road work this year. At the May 22, 2014 session the Legislature unanimously (11-0) approved a resolution to transfer the $5 million from the undesignated fund balance, which currently totals $89 million, to the general fund.
The Legislature’s Majority Caucus urges the County Executive to immediately assign the funding to projects that his administration has identified as necessary and include them in this year’s construction list.
“The County Executive’s plan for repairing roads this year simply doesn’t go far enough based on the large volume of roadways that need repair. This additional $5 million will allow the county to repair more of the roadways that the residents are fed up with having to drive on. We believe that this additional funding is critical and taxpayers deserve to have as many repairs completed as possible. The county has an outstanding DPW crew that is ready to work and the Legislature supports spending additional funding to allow crews to complete more projects,” said Chairman John Mills.
“Spending a small percentage of the fund balance on road repair, during a time when our roads are in dismal condition, is not only appropriate but critical. The County Executive said that this past winter greatly impacted our roadways and I think we have to acknowledge that fact with a real response and spend the $5 million on more projects. The County Executive can't tell residents that there are road issues, but not offer residents a full investment from our county resources,” said Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo.
The Majority Caucus called a special session on April 24, 2014 to expedite the approval process and get crews to work as soon as possible. At that session, the Legislature approved $27.1 million in funding, paid for through federal, state and county money. Recognizing that the county should spend more on its infrastructure and assets, the Majority Caucus put forward a resolution to spend the additional $5 million this year.
“There is no question that more roadways need to be repaired. Residents rely on a solid infrastructure for their daily commutes and it is our job to provide that. A major factor in revitalizing our local economy is improving and maintaining our infrastructure. We have the ability to invest the $5 million this year into critical repairs. If the County Executive chooses not to spend these funds now, the cost of repairs will increase next year because the deterioration will continue to expand,” said Legislator Edward Rath, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee.
According to the County Charter, to appropriate fund balance as revenue, the Legislature must have two-thirds approval, which is eight (8) votes. The action taken at today’s session, releases those funds to be utilized by the County’s Department of Public Works during this fiscal year.
A copy of the resolution will be forwarded to the County Executive, requesting that he abide by the Legislature’s request and spend the approved funds on critical road repairs.