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Erie County executive touts healthy budget

County Executive Chris Collins
WBFO News file photo
County Executive Chris Collins

By Michael Mroziak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Executive Chris Collins offered a mid-year budget update Monday morning, an update that suggests Erie County is spending below budget while enjoying an increase in sales tax collections.

According to Collins, the 2011 budget so far shows:

- a positive variance of $13 million

- a 5.3% increase in sales tax collections from this time last year

- a decrease in overtime expenses, as well as 183 vacant positions that will not be filled

- an unanticipated recovery of $2.8 million resulting from a Social Services legal settlement with new York State

- almost 100% property tax collections and a more than 10% upward trend in property transfer tax revenues

"With our 2011 budget on track and our new four-year financial plan recently approved by the Fiscal Stability Authority, Erie County's fiscal future is stronger than ever."

Collins' budget update comes as the Legislature holds mid-year hearings this week.

When it was suggested by a reporter that these budget numbers look good for a re-election bid, Collins - who is seeking another term this November - admitted he will be pitching the county's budget health in his campaign.

As of early Monday afternoon WBFO was awaiting Erie County Comptroller (and County Executive election opponent) Mark Poloncarz's response.