11/07/12: Poloncarz Highlights Commitment to Fully Invest In Aging Infrastructure

Modified: January 22, 2015 1:11pm

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2013 Budget Proposal Includes Additional $700,000 for Pay-As-You-Go Capital Improvements and $39 Million Investment in County’s Roads, Bridges, Parks and new Senior Transportation Vans

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz noted his commitment to fully investing in Erie County’s (the “County”) aging infrastructure by highlighting the increased funding for capital projects included in his 2013 Erie County Proposed Budget (“Proposed Budget”).

“When I was elected last November, I heard the message loud and clear:  the public demands we finally address our deteriorating roads, bridges and parks,” said Poloncarz.   “I have listened.  My Proposed Budget will help ensure the safety and well-being of residents across Erie County by investing in our aging infrastructure with an additional $700,000 for pay-as-you-go capital improvements and increasing the capital projects budget to $39 million.”

The 2013 Erie County Proposed Budget, released on October 15, 2012, increases the County’s Road Fund by $700,000 to $6.9 million.  This “pay-as-you-go” funding will continue the County’s commitment to increasing capital improvements on County roads, highways and bridges.

Additionally, the Proposed Budget includes a $39 million 2013 Capital Budget (bonded component), which leverages an additional $19 million in State and Federal highway dollars for a total of $58.2 million for more than 60 projects (full list of projects included as a companion document). 

Poloncarz specifically noted several important roadway and bridge projects that will be funded for construction or for design and right-of-way (“ROW”) improvements, including:  Clarence Center Road & Salt Road Bridges (Clarence, design & ROW), Zoar Valley Road (Concord, design and construction), Girdle Road Bridge (Elma, construction), East Eden Road (design & ROW) & Abbott Road Bridges (construction, Hamburg), Vermont Street (Holland, construction), Stony Road and Bridge (design & ROW on Bridge, construction on Road) & Penora Street (construction, Lancaster), Swift Mills Road Bridge (Newstead, design & ROW), Brighton Road (construction) & Tonawanda Rails to Trails (design & ROW, Tonawanda), Seneca Creek Road Pathway (West Seneca, design), and others.

Additionally, this budget includes important investments into County parks, modernizing a previously closed  County health clinic, industrial redevelopment projects, Erie Community College, the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, and the Darwin Martin House as well as the purchase of new vans for the Department of Senior Services’ popular and well-utilized senior transportation network.

As part of Poloncarz’s plan, the County will be paying off more debt than it is adding in 2013 as it pays $40.6 million in principal and $17.6 million in interest from debt service associated with prior year capital projects.

Poloncarz stated, “Anyone who drives on County roads and bridges or visits County parks knows that our infrastructure urgently needs repairs and reconstruction. Through careful scrutiny of proposed projects, we have worked to keep borrowing at a responsible level.  In fact, next year we will be retiring more debt than we will be taking on with this capital projects proposal.”

In order for projects to be considered for the 2013 Capital Budget, projects had to meet one of the following tests:

  • Health and safety – Projects which have a direct relationship to reducing hazards to the health and safety of county residents or employees. This is considered to be the highest priority criterion in the review process.
  • Previous Commitment – Multi-year projects which were authorized in prior years, and which require necessary funding to complete the entire project.
  • Legal or Governmental Mandates – Projects which the County is required to undertake by law or court order, or under federal or state mandate.
  • Special Considerations – Projects which do not meet the above tests but which warrant further consideration due to special circumstances, such as the loss of outside funding if the project is not undertaken.

Poloncarz presented the 2013 Erie County Proposed Budget on October 15, 2012, which maintains the quality of life programs and services demanded by the public amid increases in State-mandated costs and reduced revenues.  The County Legislature now has until December 4th to adopt the budget, including any changes they wish to incorporate.   Should the County Executive veto any items added or increased by the Legislature, the Legislature will have until December 11th to approve any veto overrides before the budget is considered adopted.