Erie County Executive’s budget deficit plan includes $40 million in departmental cuts

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has released his 2020 COVID Budget Deficit Remediation Plan.

The plan reflects a projected $137.8 million pandemic-related deficit in the county’s budget for this year.

The County Executive’s plan includes departmental cuts and close-outs of some capital projects in order to close the gap caused by lost tax revenue.

Here are some of the highlights of his plan:

  • 2019 Carry Forward: $29 million
  • Fund Balance Usage: $25.15 million
  • Capital Project Close-Out: $4.6 million
  • Fringe Savings: $8 million
  • Unanticipated Healthcare Savings and Rebates: $16 million
  • CARES Act Cost Shifts: $15 million
  • Departmental Cuts: $40 million

Departmental cuts could affect the Erie County Holding Center.

Most cuts to deputy positions would be “vacancy cuts,” but Poloncarz says there could also be positions cut as well.

The full plan can be found here.

Poloncarz released a statement on this plan:

“Putting this plan together required input from county commissioners and department heads as well as from elected officials and other offices. It was not easy but I would like to thank all who participated and offered constructive ideas to help move the county forward through these unprecedented times. These gap-closing measures are a mix of things that we can do at the county level, including using some fund balance, making departmental cuts, and closing out some projects. However, federal funding like the CARES Act is also a key component to addressing this issue. Erie County, like counties nationwide, needs another round of federal stimulus to help our economic recovery and I urge the President to work with House and Senate leadership to pass another package. If they do so we can avoid the many proposed cuts to services and staff.”

Mark Poloncarz

Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw issued a response to the County Executive’s deficit reduction plan:

I appreciate and thank the County Executive for his kind words about working together. We are both on the same page. Now is not the time for partisan bickering.  Together, we need to lead our county out of this fiscal crisis caused by the deficit.  

“I agree with Comptroller Mychajliw that this is no time for partisan infighting.”

Source: Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, “2020 COVID-19 Deficit Remediation Plan,” June 4th, 2020

My pledge has always been and always will be to work with the County Executive to fix this.  We will find solutions to this problem. 

On March 11th, 2020 I sounded the alarm that we would need to act to solve a deficit in the 2020 budget. I declared a deficit on May 4th, 2020.  On May 18th, 2020 I provided the Legislature with a comprehensive, 10-point deficit reduction plan that offered solutions. Today, the County Executive is offering his plan.  As mandated by the Charter, my office will provide the Legislature with a detailed analysis of the County Executive’s suggestions.  The two of us have been working hard on this issue. 

Now it’s time for the Legislature to act.  They must stop their hyper-partisan attacks.  Up until now, the Legislature has engaged in divisive, political attacks on why I declared a deficit. Clearly, there is one.  The County Executive agrees and offered his solutions. 

The Legislature needs to join us to solve problems and get their heads out of the sand. To date, all they’ve done is launch attacks on why a deficit was declared in the first place, long after the County Executive and I agreed one existed, and offered plans on how to fix it. The Legislature needs to get to work and be prepared to make extremely difficult but necessary decisions to eliminate the deficit.

Hon. Stefan I. Mychajliw, Erie County Comptroller

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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