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Legislature approves amended budget

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Mike Desmond/wbfo news
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Erie County has a budget for next year, with most changes in County Executive Poloncarz' spending proposal approved unanimously.

Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo went on for well over an hour, doing cuts and increases line by line, like cutting overtime in the Holding Center and Jail by $115,000.

In the end, the billion-and-a-half-dollar budget was cut a little over $2 million. That cuts the property tax on an average home around $5.

Poloncarz says it was political people working together.

"If there's anything we saw after the winter storm that recently hit us, 'Winter Storm Knife,' it's that government can do good things for the people of this community. And, I think the Legislature realized that and understood that draconian cuts were not in the best interest of the people of Erie County," Poloncarz said.

He says the county will lose a grievance tomorrow because the budget cuts three planned nurses for the Holding Center and cuts in hiring more probation officers will delay some other programs.

Minority Leader Betty Jean Grant cited the probation cuts as a mistake, saying some people might be kept in the Holding Center longer.

"A probation officer who gets more cases than he can really maintain and control and that subjects those guys not being monitored as much as they should have been," Grant said.

"When something is going to address public safety and wants to address that, then I cannot be supportive of that and that's why I voted against those cuts to the Probation Department, those job vacancies."

Poloncarz says he will be coming back with a proposal using public and private money to hire probation officers for programs to get people out of the Holding Center, while awaiting court action.
 

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.