As 2018 comes to a close, we are busy at the Legislature discussing next year’s budget and finalizing our amendments. Last week, we spent two full days hearing from county departments and representatives on what they are requesting out of the budget. This week we will hear from the public regarding their concerns. I am hopeful my colleagues and I can agree on a budget that benefits the taxpayers of Erie County and adequately invests in our communities.
One of my main priorities is ensuring we allocate enough money to invest in roads and infrastructure. This is an area where actual money spent has repeatedly fallen short. There are dozens of roads throughout my district and across areas outside of the county’s first-ring suburbs in need of attention. While I’m happy to report that much of my advocacy this year has yielded results, there’s still more to be done. I will fight to provide adequate funding to fix additional roads and continue to advocate that the money the Legislature allocates actually gets spent on roads in 2019.
I’m also working to continue funding for a variety of organizations throughout my district to help them continue the outstanding work they do. I recently visited the local Boys and Girls Clubs and Senior Centers to further my knowledge of the many great ways they utilize county funds. From ensuring top-of-line care for seniors to offering after school programs for our children, these organizations provide services to benefit nearly everyone in our community. As I have in past years, I will push to increase funding to each of these worthy organizations.
While there are a number of areas that have received less than sufficient funding by the county executive, I believe we need to carefully prioritize spending. The Administration often requests to add positions at high salaries with little to no benefit to county residents. Whenever this happens, I ask several questions, and rarely support increased salaries when our roads continue to deteriorate. I look forward to continuing our budget discussions and will be sure to update the outcome in next month’s column.
In the meantime, I have set up community office hours all are welcome to attend. This is an opportunity to discuss county-related issues or any other concerns you may have. Most importantly, I encourage residents to weigh in on the county executive’s proposal for a new convention center. The 90-day public comment period for a new convention center is nearing an end and it is important all voices are heard on this topic. My office will be hosting these outreaches from 4:30-6pm Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at the West Seneca Library and Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at the Elma Public Library. I hope to see you there!
If you can’t attend but would still like to weigh in, feel free to contact my office at Joseph.Lorigo@erie.gov or (716) 858-8922.