Erie County Legislature debates how to spend millions in surplus money

Local News

The Erie County Legislature is debating how to spend a $45 million dollar surplus left from the 2018 fiscal year.

Of the $45 million dollars, $31,000 will go to ECMC, leaving about $14 million to spend as they see fit.

The Albright Knox could benefit from the surplus. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is looking to give the gallery $5 million dollars. It’s a commitment Erie County Legislator April Baskin says the county made back in 2016.

“What is going on with negotiations with Albright Knox is a match from the private sector, so it does deserve consideration in my opinion.” said Baskin.

While some agree with giving the gallery money, they don’t agree with the amount.  

“The Albright Knox is also sitting on a very healthy endowment that it has in its reserves,” said Edward Rath III. “Yes, I believe the county should participate, but not to the tune of $5 million.  Let’s take that money and push it to some other areas, where we can protect our residents, and also provide services to the poor.”

Some legislators says priorities need to be shifted to the taxpayers

“What we should of done, is lowered the county property taxes for 2019 and given that money back to county taxpayers,” said Joseph Lorigo C-West Seneca.  “There was a proposal that would of cut spending by $10 million. The county executive said that would blow a huge hole in his budget for 2019, but lo-and-behold, four months later, we’re sitting on a $44 million surplus.”

The legislature will continue to debate. Rath says they have a few weeks to make a decision.

“So there are alot priorities, but everything can’t be a priority because that makes nothing a priority,” said Baskin. “So we’re just ironing out,  having conversations with both sides of the isle and the county executive.”

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