Erie County Legislature holds budget meeting today; GOP hoping for small tax cut
The Erie County Legislature holds its annual budget meeting today in an effort to approve a 2015 spending plan for the county.
Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills calls this a "pretty tight budget," but the republican adds legislators are hoping to turn County Executive Mark Poloncarz' plan to hold the line on property taxes into a small property tax cut.
"It'll be a reasonably minor cut but it will certainly send a message," notes Mills, "that we're serious about changing the culture of county government and make it more productive with less overhead."
Mills adds lawmakers are looking carefully at more than 30 newly created positions in the county executive's plan in an effort to be able to fund the tax cut. He says our recent winter storm made their efforts even more difficult.
"We would have cut more," says Mills, "but we had the storm hit us three weeks ago and this is going to cut into our 2014 surplus by five or six million-dollars."
Mills adds none of the cuts will impact the jobs recently created in Child Protective Services.
Mills is also hoping lawmakers will restore support to some cultural groups whose funding was cut significantly in the county executive's plan. He specifically points to Penn Dixie, an outdoor educational center in Hamburg. Mills says he believes Penn Dixie is an indication of how well rounded the cultural sphere is in Erie County.