1:46 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Poloncarz defends use of borrowing in newly-passed budget

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is praising fellow Democrats in the Legislature majority for approving the 2014 county budget by a 6-5 vote Tuesday.

Poloncarz says this is the first time in years a balanced budget passed without a big fight.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Democratic Legislator Timothy Hogues
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

However, Republican lawmakers are blasting the use of $8 million in borrowing to cover pension costs. Poloncarz says instead of a tax increase, he proposed a low-interest program used by almost every other major county.  

"Westchester County does it, under Republican County Executive Rob Astorino. Monroe County does it, under Republican County Executive Maggie Brooks. So when the Republican members of the minority were criticizing it, I don't really think they were criticizing it as a result of finances. It was just the political give and take that you often see in a budget," Poloncarz said Wednesday.

Poloncarz says the pension payment is not due for another year, so if revenues increase, the county may not even have to borrow the money.

The county executive says the budget includes funding to grow the economy, including $100,000 to open an office in Toronto to help Canadian companies locate in Erie County.