BUFFALO, N.Y.(WIVB)– Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released his spending plan for 2020. The plan includes a significant cut in the property tax rate and a boost in spending for county roads.
Poloncarz says if his budget for next year is adopted, Erie County would have one of the lowest property tax rates in the state,and the lowest in Western New York.
While at the same time the county has to devote more tax dollars to new unfunded state mandates. Poloncarz stressed his consistent budgets have cut property tax rates since he took office in 2012.
While rising property values have led to the lower tax rates, the 2020 budget would cut the rate by 12 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value.
Poloncarz says the new plan would actually lower tax bills.
” It will actually reduce the taxes of homeowners in our community. It stays under the New York State Tax Cap. We have never presented a budget that went over the tax cap,” Poloncarz said.
The new one-point-72 billion dollar spending plan would also include $80 million for road repair, capital improvements, and new heavy equipment. That’s up by $8 million over the current budget.
But Lynne Dixon, Poloncarz’s challenger in this year’s election,questions the timing of this budget presentation, with the tax cuts before the November Election,and about a week before it is normally released.
“Last year we tried to implement a tax cut and he prevented that. So the thought process at that time was he was waiting until an election year, perhaps. So it would not surprise me if there is a tax cut in there,” Dixon said.
Poloncarz countered, the spending plan would give county lawmakers more time to digest it, saying it was “disingenuous” to criticize him for releasing a budget early that was going to get released before the election by at least three weeks.
Poloncarz added those new unfunded state mandates included hiring new workers in the District Attorney’s office, the Department of Social Services, and additional personnel is required for lead testing.
The local sales tax is the highest in Upstate New York, but Poloncarz says half of that is shared with local governments.