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Public input sought on county budget

The budget proposed by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz would increase taxes by 3.4 percent, but critics say any tax increase is unacceptable. It's not too late for taxpayers to weigh in. The final public hearing on the County Executive's 2013 spending plan is tonight.

Poloncarz says the proposed tax increase would provide more funding for libraries, culturals and other services, including summer youth programs and rodent control.

Legislator Joseph Lorigo, a Conservative who caucuses with the Republican minority, says he hopes lawmakers can find a way to maintain services at their current level without raising taxes.  

"There's a lot of talk about how our county tax rate is lower than other counties in New York," Lorigoa said.

"But I think when New York has taxes 96 percent higher than the nation, that's not good enough."

Finance and Management Committee Chair Legislator Timothy Hogues says after hearing from department heads last week, he believes the budget is sound and not filled with fluff.

Hogues, a Buffalo Democrat, says there's a delicate balance between the proposed property tax increase and funding services that some people view as vital.

"I'm encouraging all Erie County taxpayers to come out. This is their time to voice their opinion on the proposed tax increase and the budget overall and let us know what's important to them.
The hearing gets underway at 5 pm in County Hall at 92 Franklin Street.