Erie County Legislature Approve Proposed 2012 Budget

6:39 PM, Dec 7, 2011   |    comments
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Buffalo, N.Y. - The Erie County Legislature approved the 2012 proposed county budget.

The vote was 13-1.  Dino Fudoli-(R) was the only legislator to vote against it.

Erie County Executive Chris Collins issued this statement following the vote:

"The voters of Erie County have spoken and elected a new County Executive. As a result, I believe the incoming County Executive should be able to govern under a budget that reflects his spending priorities instead of mine, and, therefore, I will let all changes to the proposed 2012 Budget stand."

Collins released his proposed 2012 budget in back in October, and cuts he made in it became a huge issue in the final weeks of the campaign.

A lot of people labeled Collins a grinch when he wiped out cultural funding for dozens of small groups.

He also came under criticism for ending the county's rodent control program, and cutting funding for libraries.

Friday afternoon, at the urging of County Executive-Elect Mark Poloncarz, the legislature reversed a number of Collins' cuts.

  • Restoring more than $900,000 to small cultural groups.
  • Putting back jobs to the library system that Collins had moved to another county department
  • Restoring the county's rodent control program

Scott Brown: "The changes made by the legislature- how much does that reflect what people were concerned or outraged about?"

Legislator Tom Loughran: "I think some of those issues were campaign issues in the executive's race- rodent control, the culturals, these are very important to our constituents."

The legislature also restored 50 jobs Collins had cut in the Social Services department, and seven of the jobs Collins had cut in the in the Comptroller's office two years ago at a time when he and Poloncarz were feuding.

All told, the legislature moved around $5 million in Collins' proposed budget.

Legislator Lynn Marinelli: "There is no tax increase and people should know that. This keeps us living within our means and reflects the wishes that our constituents told us were important to them."

After losing his re-election bid, Collins asked the legislature to give the zoo $6 million from this year's expected surplus to help fund a new polar bear exhibit.

Instead, the legislature said it would give the zoo half that amount, $3 million, and based on advice from the Control Board, it will borrow the money.

Majority Leader Maria Whyte: "I certainly support the project that's taking place at the Buffalo Zoo and the role in plays in our cultural tourism and our economic development."

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