An attempt by County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz to block $195,134 from being added to the 2013 budget failed Tuesday as legislators unanimously voted to override his budget vetoes.
Poloncarz had vetoed the extra spending because he did not approve of $8.5 million in cuts a majority of legislators made to his 2013 budget proposal last week.
The Legislature on Tuesday took its final actions on a $1.37 billion county budget for 2013 that will not raise the Erie County property tax rate, but Poloncarz has signaled he is exploring his options for dealing with a county budget that he believes has a “multi-million budget gap” because of the Legislature’s cuts.
That led six legislators to spell out exactly how much should be raised in property taxes next year with the hopes of guarding against an attempt to change that amount in the weeks ahead. That amount, $237 million, will not change the property tax rate next year.
“We want to make sure that everything moves appropriately and legally,” said Minority Leader John J. Mills, an Orchard Park Republican, who voted for the $8.5 million in budget cuts along with legislators Kevin R. Hardwick, R-City of Tonawanda; Edward A. Rath III, R-Amherst; Lynne Dixon, I-Hamburg; Joseph C. Lorigo, C-West Seneca; and Thomas A. Loughran, D-Amherst.
The Legislature’s decision to override the county executive’s vetoes will mean that $93,987 will remain in the budget for a salary for a grants administrator in the Comptroller’s Office, as well as $10,000 for the Amherst Symphony Orchestra, an additional $20,000 for youth programs in Operation Prime Time, $7,500 for overtime in the Registrar’s Division of the Clerk’s Office and $63,647 for fringe benefits for the grants administrator position.
While all members of the Legislature voted to override the vetoes Tuesday, they remain divided on what impact the $8.5 million in cuts made last week will mean for the county.
“I still maintain that the budget that was adopted by this Legislature last week has many areas of irresponsibility and shortfalls,” said Legislator Lynn M. Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda. “And I think as we proceed into 2013, those will become better known.”
The $8.5 million in cuts wiped out a proposed tax increase by reducing a number of lines, including money used for legal settlements, jail overtime, fringe benefits and other spending accounts.
“We stand by the work that we did,” Rath said. “We’re very confident that in 2013, those numbers are going to stand up, and they are accurate projections.”