Republican county legislators push control board savings
Members of the Erie County Legislature's Minority Caucus are pushing a plan they claim will save millions of dollars.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued a mid-year budget warning Monday, saying the county faces more than $50 million in unanticipated costs. GOP lawmakers are calling on Poloncarz to borrow and refinance through the county Control Board.
Legislator Ed Rath says that will save taxpayers nearly $3 million.
The county executive says the sky is falling. What's falling out of the sky is $3 million that we need to take advantage of for the taxpayers of Erie County," Rath said.
With a recess in mid-year budget hearings scheduled for Thursday, minority members say Poloncarz needs to act fast to take advantage of the savings.
Tonawanda Republican Kevin Hardwick says Poloncarz has to go after the "low hanging fruit."
"The control board is there waiting to be our partner once again and save us money," Hardwick said.
"It doesn't make any sense when you're talking about a doom and gloom, doomsday scenario that you wouldn't look for any and all ways to save money," said Legislator Lynn Dixon.
With Poloncarz revealing nearly $44 million in unbudgeted healthcare costs, the minority is also calling for a new long-range spending plan. Rath says in November, then-County Executive-elect Poloncarz told the legislature he was aware of ECMC's additional costs.
"He is 100-percent contradicting himself from what he said eight months earlier. I think it's time that the county executive be truthful with the taxpayers of Erie County that he was aware of these costs and that he has to follow up on what his plans were at the time for mitigating these costs," Rath said.
Poloncarz has indicated that everything will need to be on the table. WBFO and AM970 News is seeking reaction from the county executive.