BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz expressed his displeasure with the City of Buffalo’s response to the blizzard during a Wednesday press conference, saying he has had discussions with New York State about the county taking over the city’s snow cleaning operations in the future.

“The mayor’s not going to be happy to hear about it, but storm after storm after storm after storm, the City, unfortunately, is the last one to be opened and that shouldn’t be the case,” Poloncarz said. “It’s embarrassing, to tell you the truth.”

Poloncarz stated that Erie County and state operations have taken over a one-third segment of Buffalo to assist with cleanup following the storm. The City remains the lone section of Erie County that still has a driving ban in place.

Poloncarz’s comments led to a response from Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown during a later press conference Wednesday, seemingly putting the two at odds over the city’s cleanup efforts.

“[Poloncarz] has never once directly, county executive to mayor, said any of these things to me,” Brown said. “So, to say that during a news briefing is a little strange, it’s a little odd. I don’t know where that comes from.”

Brown also stressed that the City was among the hardest-hit areas of the storm.

Despite his frustration, Poloncarz felt progress had been made regarding snow removal, saying that 65% of Buffalo streets have at least one lane available for passage. Additionally, every road in the City should have at least one lane opened for emergency travel by the end of the day Wednesday.

“There’s a reason why the state and the county have come in and taken over operations [in Buffalo],” Polancarz said. “We know that we can get in there and clean it very quickly, the state is basically doing the same thing … I think it’s apparent that it’s time [for a snow removal operation to change in Buffalo], or at least a discussion on the future.”

While Poloncarz did not say Erie County would take over in the City for all snowfalls in the future, he reiterated that the county would come in for cleanup operations involving major storms.

Regarding the coordination of response efforts for the blizzard, Poloncarz stated that each morning, local officials from different municipalities have a call and that Buffalo officials were not on it Wednesday morning — nor have they generally been.

“We will do what it takes in the future to ensure that our community is open as quickly as possible,” Poloncarz said. “If that means we have to hire more trucks and get more contractors and bring in more people to handle an area that Erie County has never been responsible for, we’ll do it. I just don’t want to see this anymore, I’m sick of it.”

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.