Tue July 17, 2012
County executive says everything needs to be on table for fiscal review
In issuing a mid-year budget warning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz indicated that everything will need to be on the table as the county faces more than $50-million in unanticipated costs.
"We are facing siginfican difficulties," said Poloncarz.
Poloncarz is concerned about property assessments and a potential drop in sales tax revenues. But will taxpayers see a future property tax hike...
"So I'm leaving everything on the table. I'm not saying there will be a tax increase, but I think everything has to be left on the table," said Poloncarz.
Millions of dollars of unbudgeted healthcare payments must be made to the Erie County Medical Center Corporation. More than $44-million is due this year.
"I've said to ECMC folks, and I believe they agree, we are not going to allow this county to reentry the red-green fiscal crisis because of ECMC," said Poloncar. "That's not going to happen on my watch."
The County Legislature kicked off mid-year budget hearings Monday.
County lawmaker Timothy Hogues agrees that everything will be up for review, but lawmakers are not ready to consider tax hikes or service cuts.
"We will start cutting services or will we see our taxes go up? I think that it is too early to say. I think that we can not rule out anything. We will have to take time to look at everything then make those tough decision," said Hogues.
A county surplus could turn into a budget shortfall. Poloncarz tweeted on his Twitter page, the county has a $6.7-million surplus, but stated so far "dark clouds on the horizon".