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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Friday morning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz presented his proposed budget of $1.9 billion for 2024 Fiscal Year.
Poloncarz, who is running for reelection, said the proposal includes the lowest tax rate ever in Erie County’s history.
Erie County Property Tax Rate
Due to the increased Library Property Tax Levy, the county could see a reduction in property taxes, dropping from $3.93 per thousand to $3.39 per thousand.
“It is the lowest tax rate ever in Erie County’s history,” said Poloncarz. “Which is not surprising because this year’s, at $3.93, was the lowest tax rate ever. But we’ve cut it by 55 cents per thousand of assessed value, this is the lowest rate ever and based on sound budgeting.”
Since 2012, there has been a 33 percent decrease in the property tax rate in Erie County.
According to Poloncarz, Erie County has the lowest tax rate in Western New York, the next lowest would be in Niagara County with a $5.62 per thousand.
Library Property Tax Levy
In the proposed budget, there would be a $1.4 million increase to library funding, leading to a 4.9 percent levy growth.
General Fund Revenue Sales Tax
In 2023, there was an 4.6 percent growth in sales tax in Erie County. In the proposed budget, a 2 percent increase over the 2023 year is projected for the 2024 fiscal year.
“We’re projecting a 2 percent growth which means that $598 million would be generated for Erie County in the sales tax and $482 million would be generated in shared among the cities and the towns, the villages, and the school districts, as well as the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority, which all share in our sales tax,” said Poloncarz.
Under the proposed budget, law enforcement would see a 20 percent increase in funding as compared to the 2023 budget. There would be 12 new time positions for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, including new engagement teams positions, new public information and freedom of information officers, new detectives for special victims and white collar fraud investigators.
The county will also put a $1 million dollar deposit on an Erie County 2 helicopter, which would come out of the county’s operating budget.
- Department of Public works: nine new positions
- Parks: one maintenance position
- Department of Environmental planning: one planner position and a $500 thousand community climate resiliency fund
- Homeland Security Emergency Services: one emergency planner position
- A $1.3 million increase in funding for the Buffalo Convention Center and Visit Buffalo Niagara
- $3.4 million funding increase for Erie County Healthcare Career Program
For 2024 capital projects, Poloncarz proposed a $100 million investment fund. The investment includes $56.2 million bonded and $20.2 million PAYGO. A portion of the investment would be used for various road and bridge projects across Erie County municipalities.
In the proposed budget, Poloncarz aims to continue paying off the county’s debt. Since 2012, the county has payed off just over $187 million in debt.
“We’re paying off more debt that we plan to issue the following year,” said Poloncarz. “This is important because not only do we have our own debt, that we’re going to be investing in, but we’re also planning in 2024, on doing a debt associated with a big project in Orchard Park that everyone knows about, the football stadium.
The Erie County Legislature has until Dec. 7 to take a final vote on the proposal.