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Legislature overrides Poloncarz vetoes

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Buffalo: Legislature overrides Poloncarz vetoes
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The battle over Erie County's 2013 budget continued Tuesday as the 11-member legislature voted to override vetoes the county executive issued on thousands in additional spending. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on the legislature's unanimous decision and what it could mean for the county next year.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — "I think it sends the message to the county executive that he needs to go in a different direction," Erie County Legislator John Mills said.

The 11-member legislature sent that message Tuesday by unanimously overriding Mark Poloncarz's vetoes on additional spending in the county's 2013 budget – a message Poloncarz said he can't afford to pay for.

"You can't sit here and say you're going to increase spending as they do, while at the same time they create an over $8 million hole in my budget," Poloncarz said.

That increase totals about $195,000, funding legislators want used for cultural agencies like the Amherst Symphony Orchestra and a grant accounting position in the county comptroller's office.

"That position is very, very important to what goes on in county government,” Mills said following the vote. “So I'm glad we got a chance to the override on the veto and reestablish that position."

That position accounts for more than $93,000 of that additional spending, money Poloncarz feels could be used elsewhere.

"The current individual in that office was out for two months due to an injury. Well, if the job is so essential that they were able to get by without it for two months,” he said. “I'd like to see the comptroller invest his resources in other areas."

This comes after the legislature voted not to increase the tax levy and cut $8.5 million from the budget, lines Poloncarz said the county will end up paying for regardless. Discussing the situation at the Central Library Tuesday, he said it's a situation the county will have to learn to manage.

"I'm going to have to find ways to manage the budget without the revenue I need to pay for those things. It's going to be very difficult.

Both Poloncarz and the legislature said they're open to discussion on the issue. Poloncarz added he's also conducting a legal review on all amendments to the 2013 budget.

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