Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Amendment adds to spending proposed by County Executive
Buffalo, NY – At Thursday's session of the Erie County Legislature the members voted to use $12.5 million of the County's $44 million surplus to fund projects that will stimulate the economy of Erie County.
The County Executive had sent to the Legislature a resolution asking for authorization to spend $21 million of the surplus on a variety of budget line issues including paying off debts and items such as equipment for the Erie County Library.
The Legislature voted to amend the County Executive's request to add an additional $12.5 million in spending on such items as the cultural institutions in Erie County, capital projects at ECC, Erie County beaches, the Bethlehem Steel site redevelopment and Riverview Commerce Park in Tonawanda. Also included in the Legislature's designation was money for the Workforce Investment Board and the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, monies intended to be used for the creation jobs or support those who are seeking employment. Public health measures were included such as projects for mosquito abatement and increasing security in county-owned parks.
"None of these projects are county operational expenses, these are one-shot projects that will stimulate the economy of Erie County but not incur an ongoing expense," explained Majority Leader Maria Whyte (D-Buffalo, 6th District). "this is a prudent use of funds as intended when those funds were allocated to us by the federal government."
Erie County ended 2009 with a surplus that was, in part, due to the federal government's payment of Medicaid funds on behalf of Erie County. Those federal stimulus dollars were sent to states and counties by the Obama Administration to free up funds that would then be spent to put people to work.
A portion of the stimulus funds will be put into the reserve fund that the County is required to maintain. But, according to Legislator Lynn Marinelli (D-Tonawanda, 11th District) "all of these items that were included in the resolution today are intended to stimulate the economy so that Erie County has a stronger financial footing in the years to come."
The Resolution, which also served to close out and balance the County's accounts for the year 2009, will now go to County Executive Collins for his approval.