Modified: October 1, 2019 1:33pm
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined today by Director of the Erie County Division of Budget and Management Robert Keating to present his Fiscal Year 2020 Proposed Erie County Budget (“Proposed Budget”). Chief among the Proposed Budget’s highlights is a significant reduction in the 2020 property tax rate of 2.48%, or twelve cents per thousand dollars of assessed value, reducing that rate to $4.72 and underscoring the fiscal strength of Erie County as well as the Poloncarz administration’s continued cautious and responsible budgeting process. This reduction drops the real property tax rate a full thirty-one cents below what it was ($5.03) when Poloncarz took office. Even with the 12 cent reduction in the property tax rate for the 2020 Proposed Budget, Erie County will benefit from $10.3 million of additional 2020 revenue as a result of continued strong economic growth.
The Proposed Budget, while lowering taxes and investing in core areas such as infrastructure, libraries, parks, and capital projects, is also challenged by mandated New York State expenditures for programs associated with the state’s criminal justice reforms, lead poisoning measure changes, and the Raise the Age law. The Proposed Budget also reduces the eligible amount of Community College chargebacks by $4.4 million while estimating modest growth of 1.5 percent in 2020 sales tax revenue over projected 2019 sales tax collections.
“The 2020 Proposed Budget continues my administration’s record of lowering taxes and being responsible stewards of public monies while investing in infrastructure, pursuing economic development and building a better Erie County. Again this year we are proposing a large reduction in the county tax rate, dropping that rate down to $4.72 per thousand dollars of assessed value. Additionally we are also proposing a robust infrastructure investment of over $60 million for road and bridge work as well as maintaining investments in parks, libraries, and SUNY Erie,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “This proposed budget is balanced and prudent, cognizant of the promising growth taking place in our county while responsibly lowering taxes so that residents feel some relief. Just as importantly, we are constantly working to lessen the county’s debt load and have retired roughly $100 million more in county debt than the creation of new debt since January 2012 so that current and future generations are not unnecessarily burdened. Budgeting is a difficult process with many concerns, but this proposed budget is a sensible and balanced document that provides for our county’s needs in the present and lays the groundwork for the future.”
The Proposed Budget prioritizes funding for the following areas:
- · Providing for nearly $81 million in capital project work, over $8 million more than 2019, and including approximately $44.2 million in infrastructure improvements on roads and bridges throughout Erie County as well as providing another $2.5 million to purchase new heavy equipment such as plow trucks, high lifts, and tractors to better help conduct snow removal and road rehabilitation efforts. Including the proposed 2020 allocations, since 2012 Erie County has invested well over $500 million in our highway system.
- · Some of the major roadwork includes Preservation of Roads Construction for East & West Road ($3 million), North Main Street ($2.5 million), and rehabilitation of Alden Crittenden Road and Bullis Road ($3 million), as well as Federal Aid construction projects for Maple Road ($3 million for sewer replacement with the remaining work to be funded by state and federal assistance), Wehrle Drive ($2.4 million, including federal monies), and Elmwood Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements ($1.558 million, including federal monies).
- · Providing a total of $2.85 million in capital budget funding for Parks and Recreation, including Countywide Parks Improvements and ADA Accessibility ($750,000); Countywide Shelter and Buildings ($500,000), and park roads, paths, and parking lots ($300,000).
- · Budgeting capital monies for the development of the Erie County Agribusiness Park ($750,000, with $500,000) and ongoing development at the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna ($2.13 million, including both county-bonded and NYS monies).
- · Providing $250,000 for the design and business plan for ErieNET, a modern countywide open-access broadband fiber service network that will offer equal access to all Erie County residents regardless of where they live.
The proposed Budget also underscores Poloncarz administration efforts to reduce Erie County’s Outstanding General Debt, which has decreased to an estimated $319,505,197 at the end of 2019. The county’s Outstanding General Debt reached a high of $448,722,295 in 2010. In 2019 alone $48,060,000 of bond principal will be retired while in 2020, the administration is proposing new bonding of $47,342,900 for capital programs. Erie County is proactively retiring more annual debt than it is incurring in new debt overall.
Poloncarz continued, “While we are investing in roads, infrastructure, and parks the Proposed Budget also includes additional funding for ‘The People’s Mandates’ such as libraries, the funding for development of countywide broadband with Erie Net, along with maintaining and enhancing critical health and human service programs. The entire community will benefit from this budget, and I hope to have an open and honest dialogue with the Legislature about our county’s fiscal health and how we spend and invest our county tax dollars.”
For more information:
On the Erie County Division of Budget & Management, visit http://www2.erie.gov/budget/
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