Modified: May 23, 2019 4:10pm
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joined with the Erie County Legislature’s Democratic Majority recently to negotiate Budget Balancing Amendments in order to close the books on the 2018 Erie County Budget and work cooperatively to direct additional remaining funding to projects around Erie County. The amendments, approved today by the Legislature, are fiscal year-end adjustments that do not increase spending but allow the allocation of funds remaining from 2018 to be used in 2019. Poloncarz and the Democratic Majority were successful in providing an additional $1.2 million for anti-poverty initiatives, as recommended by the Poverty Committee, and in securing $600,000 in funding for the purchase and maintenance of body cameras for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office for the first year of the cameras’ usage. Among many other items, funding to fight the opioid crisis and for lead hazard reduction programs was also protected by Poloncarz in the amendments.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, “I want to thank my partners in the Legislature’s Democratic Majority for negotiating with me in good faith and supporting a budget-balancing package that protects funding commitments to our major cultural attractions, invests in economic development projects, and targets infrastructure support in the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Tonawanda as well as for continuing our commitment to fighting poverty, opioid abuse and lead hazards in Erie County. Good government works for everyone and these budget balancing amendments demonstrate that.”
To assist municipalities, the City of Buffalo will receive $300,000 for road resurfacing in the city’s Central Business District, which is bounded by Goodell/Edward Streets on the north, Canalside on the south, Michigan Avenue on the east, and South Elmwood Avenue on the west. The City of Lackawanna will receive $150,000 in funding, which will be divided into three parts: $50,000 for Lackawanna Youth Diamond Sports (L.Y.D.S.) to be used for buildings and grounds renovations, $50,000 to Lackawanna Little Loop football and cheerleading for the purpose of buildings and grounds renovations, and $50,000 to be designated for the new Lackawanna dog park facility which will be located in the East Milnor playground. The City of Tonawanda will receive $150,000 for use on two projects; $125,000 for matching a grant and rehabilitating the municipal docks on the Niagara River/Erie Canal/Ellicott Creek and $25,000 for building a playground for handicapped children at Niawanda Park.
Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski stated, “I thank County Executive Poloncarz and the members of the Democratic majority of the Legislature for providing this additional assistance that will promote the youth of our community and further enhance our region through the construction of a new dog park, and fighting to ensure it was provided after members of the minority caucus attempted to delete this important funding.”
The amendments also include $50,000 for suboxone supplies to continue the fight against opioid abuse and $143,529 for continued Lead Hazard Reduction actions. Other items contained in the approved budget balancing amendments include $200,000 to provide outreach services for communities dealing with zombie properties and over $500,000 in library funding for books, materials, and other equipment.
Poloncarz continued, “A budget is a snapshot of a community’s priorities, and a responsible budget is not only balanced but contains funding for programs that improve our county’s economy, security, and quality of life. With these budget balancing amendments we are protecting public health and safety, helping residents and communities in need, and reinforcing our commitment to building a better Erie County for generations to come.”
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