Modified: March 19, 2020 2:01pm
Created: March 19, 2020 1:32pm
Legislature could purchase More Than 200 Kits with Savings Previously Identified by Comptroller
With Erie County facing a catastrophic shortage of Coronavirus test kits and potentially facing massive deficits in the near future because of an anticipated drop in sales tax revenue, Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw is calling on the Erie County Legislature to use money saved in his office re-organization plan to be used for the purchase of more test kits for the elderly.
On February 18th, 2020, Comptroller Mychajliw proposed a resolution to the Erie County Legislature cutting four positions in his office down to two, with a savings to taxpayers of approximately $31,735.
Comptroller Mychajliw is now only calling for the immediate passage of the proposed resolution to save money, but to use the savings immediately in order for the Erie County Department of Health to purchase Coronavirus test kits.
According to a private health care lab in Texas, they are charging approximately $150 per Coronavirus test kit.
Source: www.texastribune.org, March 13th 2020, “What we know about coronavirus testing in Texas”
With Comptroller Mychajliw saving taxpayers approximately $31,735, using the private health care cost of $150 per test, Erie County could purchase an additional 211 Coronavirus test kits or more, depending on the final cost to the Erie County Department of Health.
“Seniors deserve to have peace of mind having a timely answer on whether or not they are infected with Coronavirus. The only way to protect the elderly is to quickly complete a Coronavirus test. The more people tested, the more lives saved. My office reorganization saves the county almost $32,000. I’m encouraging the Legislature, in a bi-partisan manner, to use those savings to purchase Coronavirus test kits for the health and well-being of seniors across the county,” said Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw.
The Office of Erie County Comptroller is also working on an analysis of the drastic and negative fiscal impact on how much revenue will be lost to the County of Erie depending on the future loss of sales tax revenue, hotel occupancy tax revenue and mortgage tax revenue. The State of New York is always two months behind in reporting sales tax receipts to municipalities.
With the businesses like restaurants and hotels losing record amounts of revenue in the month of March, the actual losses to the Erie County budget will not be known for another few weeks. Any budgetary savings can also help offset gaping holes that might be realized in the short term.
“This savings could also be used towards the cost of hiring more epidemiologists. Regardless of whether or not the Legislature designates my office reorganization savings of almost $32,000 towards the purchase of Coronavirus test kits; we need as much money as possible to plug potential budget gaps in the very near future. The impact of the loss of sales tax revenue on our budget could be catastrophic. Every penny the Legislature saves now is less we need to cut in the future,” concluded Erie County Comptroller Mychajliw.