© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Erie County Lawmakers Wait to Review Budget

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Legislature's chairwoman last week said there is "no appetite" for tax hikes. But some lawmakers are reserving judgement on a proposed property tax hike for 2009 until the full budget is reviewed.

The stock market is rebounding after a hard hit from the mortgage meltdown. But local governments, including Erie County, are bracing for a rough, slow recovery. Erie County Executive Chris Collins last week unveiled an overview of his highly anticipated first budget. It calls for a 3.6 percent property tax hike for most residents, about 200 job cuts and decreases or elimination of funding for some programs.

Anticipating the news, Legislature Chairwoman Lynn Marinelli predicted the budget would have a rough ride with lawmakers. But finance committee chairwoman Kathy Konst said they need to see the details.

County lawmakers are set to review the budget in a series of hearings beginning October 27. Konst said on the surface she favors eliminating vacant positions she said have propped up the budget numbers in the past. Beyond that she said she will need to see where Collins has made cuts. And she said there might be room for more cuts that would eliminate the need for any tax hikes.

Collins said last week that his proposed budget would not be a "smoke and mirrors" plan. He said any cuts that could be made are already in there. Konst rejected the idea that the county executive and lawmakers could be headed for a showdown. She said, despite some recent scuffles, Konst said they will all be working hard to do right by the community.

The finance committee will be meeting with department heads to get their input on the proposed budget before sending recommendations to the full legislature. Lawmakers must vote on the budget by December 2.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.