The Erie County Budget has passed, but not without a fight. As YNN's Natalia Martinez explains, the County Executive went from wanting a tax hike to having to work with a budget with millions of dollars in cuts.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Vote after vote came in favor of cutting $8.5 million from next year's Erie County budget Tuesday.
At times, the decision drew tears from some, but not all Democratic legislators.
"I promised to serve the best interest to my constituents and I believe that this vote serves their interest," Thomas Loughran, District 5 Democratic Erie County Legislator, told YNN.
Loughran was the swing vote. He's a Democrat who joined five Republicans in their budget battle. They had the majority to push through reduction amendments as a way to avoid the County Executive's proposed 3.4 percent property tax increase, which Mark Poloncarz said the public backed.
"They didn't mind paying just a tiny bit extra per year to ensure that we're providing these good and services and programs to the general public," Poloncarz said.
Edward Rath, District 6 Republican Erie County Legislator, said New Yorkers are taxed enough.
"Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of counties across our country have lower taxes than we do. The last thing we need to be doing is raising taxes on the residents and businesses at this time," he explained.
The biggest cut was to a lawsuit settlement fund for $3 million, followed by a $2.6 million reduction to the Sheriff's department's fringe benefits and overtime budget. That move was compensated for by a recently mandated 30 new Sheriff's department jobs.
But tears ran from another $2 million in reductions to the budget for Safety Net Assistance.
"We're gonna see impacts. We will see impacts. The depth and level of which remains to be seen. I'm very concerned," Lynn M. Marinelli, (D) District 3 Erie County Legislator, told YNN.
Poloncarz's is not able to veto any of the cuts because of the county charter, but he did vow to veto any additions to the budget.