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Poloncarz threatens cuts in budget struggle

Major changes are apparently on the way for County Executive Poloncarz's budget for next year.

Five Republican legislators and Amherst Democrat Tom Loughran say thyey have the votes to eliminate a proposed property tax hike and make major spending changes today.

The county executive can veto increases but can't do anything about cuts. He says the expected spending plan may lead to a hard control board because the spending plan will be out of balance when it starts January 1.

The executive says many of the changes look good on paper but won't work in practice. For example, there won't be enough turnover in jail guards to total nearly $2 million.

"What we found, especially in the last year, there are mandated programs by the general public. They want those programs and they are willing to pay a little bit extra to ensure they come," Poloncarz said.

"Unfortunately, if this budget is passed as is with these fake cuts, these phony gimmicks, we're going to have problems and we're going  to have to fix it and I will fix it. And, I will do the best I can but the decisions are not going to be easy."

Poloncarz says he expects to have a hiring freeze and cut spending on roads and bridges and on cultural organizations.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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