BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Friday morning, County Executive Mark Poloncarz presented the 2023 Erie County proposed budget. Watch the full presentation in the video above.
In the proposed budget, Erie County’s 2023 property tax rate would be lowered to $3.92 per thousand — a rate that has continually gone down in recent years.
- 2022: $4.32
- 2021: $4.42
- 2020: $4.71
- 2019: $4.84
- 2018: $4.95
“Budgets are a statement of values,” Poloncarz said. “This budget sends a clear message that we continue to value fiscal responsibility and respect for taxpayers, safe communities, a vibrant arts and cultural community, investment in our shared infrastructure and parks, and adapting to the needs of a critical moment in time. This proposed budget provides relief to homeowners by once again lowering the property tax rate, this time to its lowest point in decades. We are investing in law enforcement, our people, our community and our infrastructure, which in turn will help continue us along the path of a stronger and safer Erie County.”
But this does not mean every homeowner or business will see a cut, it really depends on assessed value of land and property values.
“He likes to get up there and talk about how we have the lowest county tax rate in modern history but the fact of the matter is the only way to provide real tax relief to Erie County residents is by lowering the levy,” said Republican Legislator Joe Lorigo.
In the spending plan, Poloncarz proposes salary increases for elected officials, including himself, the sheriff, comptroller, clerk, health commissioner and the commissioners of the Board of Elections.
The county executive’s salary would go from $122,000 to $131,000, comptroller from $94,000 to $100,000, health commissioner from $218,000 to $230,000, sheriff from $89,000 to $95,000, clerk from $79,000 to $84,000, and BOE commissioners from $133,000 to $141,000.
“While talking about 7 percent raises and ten percent raises and things like that while showing that you’re saving one homeowner 96 cents a year it’s again just another example of how out of touch the county executive is,” Lorigo said.
More than 50 positions would be added in the Sheriff’s Office to rain in overtime.
“I’ve taken the sheriff at his word that they need to address this there’s burnout that’s going on there are people who are leaving there are people who are taking long term FMLA because they do not want to work 16 hour days for 4-5 days in a row,” Poloncarz said.
Assistant district attorneys would get raises.
“These are adjustments of positions these are primarily given so that we can recruit people we’re having difficulties in a lot of areas recruiting people because the salary structure for the county was lower than what was offered in other governments,” Poloncarz said.
Also part of the budget, if it’s finalized, commissioners, deputy commissioners and administrators would be salaried and would not get overtime. In the past, Dr. Gale Burstein has been criticized for making huge sums of money for overtime.
Immediately after the proposed budget was released, Republicans in the County Legislature criticized it as bloated.
The Erie County Legislature’s annual budget meeting is scheduled to take place on December 1.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.