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Debate continues over county borrowing

WBFO News File Photo

The annual fight over who will do the borrowing for Erie County is surfacing again, as the county plans to sell tens of millions of dollars in bonds.

Once you boil through the annual political battling and the fundamental issues, it all comes down to numbers.

Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw says if the county borrows for itself, the total cost approaches $42 million. If the money is borrowed through the Control Board, the payback cost is $927,000 less. There are additional savings if the county refinances loans from 2005.

"This is a no-brainer," Mychajliw said.

"The county can actually save about $1.6 million by borrowing through the Control Board because they have a better interest rate. That's the way the law was written when the Control Board was created. They immediately capture sales tax, so they will forever have a better bond rating, a better interest rate to borrow than Erie County."

County Executive Poloncarz can make either choice, with the comptroller pointing out this is an election year. The county executive's office says there will be no comment while loan papers shipped over by Mychajliw are studied.

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.