© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dixon lays out 25-point campaign plan for Erie County comptroller

Lynne Dixon (left) and Mark Poloncarz during their 2019 debate for Erie County Executive at WNED-TV studios
Eileen Elibol
Lynne Dixon (l) and Mark Poloncarz during their 2019 debate for Erie County Executive at WNED-TV studios. Dixon now wants to be the fiscal watchdog to Poloncarz as county comptroller.

With incumbent Republican Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw choosing not to run for re-election, there's an open seat and what looks like a hard and long race for the post of taxpayer watchdog.

There is a long history in the county of voters choosing a comptroller of the opposite party from the county executive. That can be helpful to Republican Lynne Dixon, who in 2019 lost the county executive position to incumbent Democrat Mark Poloncarz and has now set her sights on comptroller.

On Thursday, Dixon unveiled a campaign list of 25 areas where she wants to look into the duties and roles of the office. She sees the job as more than just being the fiscal watchdog.

"It's not just providing that checks and balances to county government, but it is also being a tool that taxpayers can use to help them, to be out with them, to work with them," Dixon said. "To work with them on senior fraud prevention, to work with them on the not-for-profits and helping them when they're trying to figure out their paperwork when they are applying for county grants."

Included in her plan is a look at child care for county workers.

"With the child care leave and government telling private enterprise what they need to do with respect to child care leave and then they don't abide by these same rules," she said. "So I would like to take a look, as comptroller, take a look at what has, for example, the cost been for the past 10 years with respect to child care for Erie County employees and what that cost would be."

Dixon said she wants to do something about the way county tax bills are handled, perhaps to help homeowners hit with major single bills. She wants to look at the 1977 formula used to divide up sales tax revenues.

Dixon also wants to take a deep dive into the operations of the Erie County Sheriff's Department. She talked about the "defund the police" movement, telling reporters she thinks the services provided to prisoners can be very important to them straightening out their lives, rather than just putting them back on the streets.

"To that end, you are then ultimately hurting, for example, those who are incarcerated, who perhaps benefit from some drug rehabilitation or education, those sorts of things," Dixon said. "So within my first 100 days, I would like to take a look at the Sheriff's office and take a look at all what the Sheriff's office does, what is mandated, what is not mandated."

Mychajliw has chosen to run for Hamburg Supervisor instead of another term as county comptroller. The Democratic candidate for comptroller is County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, a former Republican.

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.