2021 Erie County Budget Yields funding for non-profits, city infrastructure, and adds to historic tax rate decrease while maintaining services with a responsible spending plan
The2021 Erie County budget document my Caucus proposed and passed today is one that shows our priority and commitment to the people of Erie County, a place I am so grateful to serve. The Minority Caucus amendment proposals were not only fiscally irresponsible, but they would not help community organizations and non-profit groups, nor the residents and persons in the urban core who pay County taxes but do not get the benefit of County roads. Furthermore, their amendments would have created long-term structural holes in our County’s financial plan.
Utilizing an extra $10 million in fund balance to double the amount of money the County was using in 2021 from our reserves risks the County’s credit rating, could be rejected by the County control board, and harms and our ability to, if necessary, use that money when needed in 2021 for COVID-19 response or outlying years to balance future gaps. The County Division of Budget and Management has done an excellent job maintaining the county’s fiscal integrity through this crisis and the Legislature should be preserving that good work, not attempting to damage it unnecessarily.
The approved Erie County Budget for 2021 stays under the property tax cap and includes a 29-cent property tax rate decrease that is the largest we have seen in nearly 2 decades. The budget we passed is equitable. We provided $2.1 million funding to Erie County’s three cities, which have historically been excluded from infrastructure funding. We funded non-profits who have struggled to remain operational this year. We restored $100,000 to youth summer programming. We funded $100,000 for a mental health facility on Buffalo’s East Side. We added additional savings to the County Executive’s tax rate proposal. We allocated millions to the County’s three cities who undoubtedly generate revenue for our entire region. Today was a good for the residents of Erie County and I am proud to have presided over this legislative body.