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Masiello Supports Creation of County Oversight Board

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello believes a state imposed control board for Erie County will provide needed discipline and oversight for the County Executive and legislators.

As the City of Buffalo remains under the watch of a control board, Mayor Masiello says it would be "regrettable" to have a second control board working in the region. But he says since the county has failed over the past several months to get their fiscal house in order, there is really no other choice. Masiello says Joel Giambra needs to exert strong, positive and responsible action.

"The County Executive has to lead and lead with what is practical, responsible and what is real," Masiello said.

But Masiello says even as leaders deal with the county's troubles, lawmakers must be very careful when it comes to raising local taxes.

"And the more you raise taxes, whether it is the sales or property tax, the more it will make this area less competitive and encourage business to move out of this region," Masiello said. "So let's get their act together quickly, let's do it smartly, don't tax anyone to death, and get back to the business of acting responsibly."

As part of the control board legislation for the county, Buffalo could actually benefit from $50 million provided by the state. The city could tap into those dollars if it can show it is also conducting budget savings in the next five years. Masiello says has not had a chance to review the legislation, but was told by some state lawmakers the city could utilize those dollars.

"I'm going to aggressively go after that money to help reduce our costs," Masiello said. "We are going to provide services as we have, and every department will have less people. The only way to do that is to get rid of bad work rules and antiquated contracts. I'm going to be aggressive to get that $50 million to help continue to put Buffalo in a better position and continue to provide quality service at less cost."

The Mayor says the difference between the city's control board situation and the county's is that Buffalo had a weak tax and revenue base.