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March 2012 Column - Another Productive Month


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

Normally I discuss Erie County issues in this space.  But I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to share my thoughts regarding last month’s presidential primary.  After all, it is not every year that the attention...

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that Grand Island resident Raymond W. Pauley has been named the April 2016 Citizen of the Month in recognition of his service to the community through the Grand Island Fire Company and other...

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick reminds residents that Erie County hosts two Hazardous Waste Drop Off Events each spring, with the first of 2016 scheduled for Saturday, May 7 at Erie Community College’s North Campus.

Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announces that Whitehaven Road and Baseline Road on Grand Island will both be repaved this year. The Legislature unanimously approved more than $26 million in road work funding at today’s session,...

Some days the life of an Erie County Legislator can be routine and not all that exciting.  Thursday, April 7 was not one of those days.

oneilj - Posted on 14 March 2012

As predicted, February was a busy month for the Erie County Legislature.  We took a stand against the insidious practice known as cyber-bullying by adopting a local law that makes engaging in such behavior a misdemeanor.  As I indicated in last month’s column, this should not relieve the pressure on our state legislative delegation, as this matter is best addressed at the state level.

 

February also saw a satisfactory resolution to our first major dispute with the new county executive.  You might recall that County Executive Poloncarz wanted to borrow all $7 million of a lawsuit settlement.  The other Republicans and I opposed this proposal, as we felt that adding another $7 million in debt to the $3 million to which we had already agreed for the zoo’s polar bear exhibit was not in the best interests of county taxpayers.  In the last few years we had paid down tens of millions of dollars in debt.  Incurring $10 million in new debt in a little over a month was not a path I thought we should be going down.  The county executive finally relented and agreed to pay cash for the settlement.  The fact that fourth quarter sales tax receipts exceeded budgeted estimates made this option much more viable.  In the end, it was a battle worth fighting.  Taxpayers can take comfort in the knowledge that we resisted the urge to kick the can down the road. 

 

I also hosted a meeting last month with library directors and board members from the Tonawandas and Grand Island.  They shared their concerns with Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and me regarding the Buffalo and Erie County Library System’s push to create a countywide library district.  It was a productive session.  The town representatives have some serious reservations and are continuing to meet.

 

I also made a report to the City of Tonawanda School Board concerning the impact of community college chargebacks on city taxpayers.  I pointed out that City taxpayers were charged $351,372 in 2010 to cover the costs of students attending community colleges in other counties.  This added 58.8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to residents’ county taxes.  That means that a city resident with a home assessed at $100,000 paid $58.80 in additional taxes in 2010 to cover the costs of city residents attending community colleges other than ECC.  My hope is that bringing this to the attention of residents will help to bring this number down.  Pending improvements to the ECC North Campus should also help.

 

If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you.  I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at kevin.hardwick@erie.gov.