The 2014 Erie County budget approved by the Erie County Legislature last week, with no tax rate increase, was officially put in place when County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz issued his budget statement and stated he would issue no vetoes.
Because of this action, County Legislature Chairperson Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo) cancelled the budget override session scheduled for Tuesday, December 10.
“We worked to provide the services necessary for the proper and efficient operations of county government that our constituents told us they support, and we did so without raising the tax rate,” County Legislator Lynn M. Marinelli (D-Buffalo, Tonawanda), vice chair of the Finance and Management/Budget Committee, said. “We are providing for public safety, economic development, infrastructure work and our cultural organizations, all which drive Erie County’s economic engines.”
The $1.39 billion spending plan includes $467,000 in amendments, matched dollar-to-dollar in spending cuts and restorations, proposed and approved by the Democratic Majority. The amendments addressed needs in the Department of Social Services, Department of Environment and Planning, Parks, Recreation and Forestry, the Olmsted Parks, Erie County Medical Center Corporation and other departments.
One amendment approved allocates $25,000 for the Department of Social Services to fund a study of chronic child neglect in Erie County, which will give the department guidance on how to proactively address this serious issue and offer solutions.
“The Department of Social Services must address the chronic child neglect issue immediately and with comprehensive data,” Legislator Marinelli said. “That is why I prompted the reallocation of the funds to conduct the chronic child neglect study in Erie County.”
Also restored in amendments was $5,000 to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for improvements at the Black Rock Canal Park, and funding for the Department of Environment and Planning to publish an annual Employment Training Resource guide.
“The DEP funding will survey 80 local providers about their training programs and assemble the information in the resource guide. The guide will be distributed to job trainers, funders and employers,” Legislator Marinelli, in whose district the Black Rock Canal Park resides, said. “I am also pleased that the committee restored funds to the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy for work at the Delaware Park Rose Garden.”
“The bottom line is I am pleased that this budget provides a basis for Erie County proceeding in a fiscally responsible manner in 2014, and for the residents of the 3rd District, who I proudly represent, this budget provides for our cultural assets and continues to treat cultural tourism as an economic driver.”