With the final session before recess scheduled for Thursday, the minority caucus is requesting that Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz request a declaration of need and direct the Control Board to borrow bond packages on behalf of Erie County and take advantage of "significant" savings.
Without a declaration of need from Poloncarz, the Control Board doesn't have the authority to borrow. At this time, only the county could do any borrowing.
“For over a month now, my colleagues and I have been alerting the public to the fact that the County Executive and Comptroller are wasting nearly $3 million of their money by insisting that we borrow funds on our own, when we know the Control Board can borrow at a lower cost because of their better credit rating. It’s wrong, we know it’s wrong, and with our legislative recess looming, this is the County Executive’s last chance to do the right thing,” Minority Leader John Mills said in a news release.
The Minority Caucus is requesting the County Executive to borrow and refinance through the Control Board to realize the following savings:
- $860,000 on a $24M capital improvement package
- $500,000 on an $80M Revenue Anticipation Note
- $1,500,000 by refinancing select existing bonds
$2,860,000 Total Savings
“Before he even begins to talk about a tax increase, the County Executive needs to take advantage of this $860,000 that everyone agrees we can save by letting the control board do all borrowing,” said Legislator Kevin Hardwick.
“Specifically, there is $1.5 million in potential savings that has been sitting on the table and the County Executive is ignoring that fact while talking about doom and gloom. To realize these savings, the County Executive must direct the Control Board to refinance existing bonds. This will not extend the life of the Control Board and time is of the essence as it has been predicted that a significant number of entities will be going to market and could drive interest rates up,” said Legislator Joseph Lorigo.
“It is critical that the declaration of need be requested by the County Executive for tomorrow’s session, creating the vehicle that allows the Control Board to borrow and avoid unnecessary costs. Earlier this week the County Executive threatened a significant deficit. This is an easy way to save taxpayers money right out of the gate, so why wouldn’t we?” said Legislator Lynne Dixon.
The Minority Caucus is also requesting that the County Executive revise his four-year plan based on the information he discussed recently. The Legislators are urging the County Executive to complete the new plan before the Legislature returns from recess on Sept. 20.
“The County Executive came before the Legislature in November 2011 and referenced the fact that ECMCC costs would rise above the previously budgeted $16 million, yet he kept that figure in his four-year plan. Furthermore, he maintains that the ECMCC payment will remain the same through 2015. Now, based on additional evidence that the County’s share will exceed the previously budgeted amount, I think it is prudent that the County Executive submit a new four-year plan that better reflects his predictions, concerns and figures presented to the public during the mid-year budget hearings,” Legislator Edward Rath said.
The County Legislature Session convenes at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 19.