Reaction to Erie County Budget Proposal

October 15, 2012 Updated Oct 15, 2012 at 5:54 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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October 15, 2012 Updated Oct 15, 2012 at 5:54 PM EDT


BUFFALO (WKBW) Under County Executive Mark Poloncarz's 2013 proposed budget, property taxes would be increased 3.4 percent. For the average homeowner with property value of 100 thousand dollars, that is an increase of 18 dollars per year.

"This will provide the additional 8.09 million dollars to help cover the budget gap," Poloncarz said.

But for taxpayers like Louise McCullum, more taxes are not a welcomed sight.

"I feel that I don't particularly like it but it is one of those necessary things we have to do," she said.

Kervin Roberson has owned his home for 15 years, and says this is the latest property tax hike to make life more and more difficult on his wallet.

"I guess it's just like everything else, everything is getting higher and it is really making it difficult on us as property owners to maintain and pay our taxes," he said.

But that tax increase, in some part, goes to pay for increased funding to the area's culturals, including 2.3 million dollars to the county's libraries.

"Anything that we get will be utilized and returned back to the taxpayers. In the sense of services and hours and that's what our focus is, to open our libraries and be available and accessible to the people whenever they need us," Mary Jean Jakubowski of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library said.

With the proposed increase, Erie County's property tax rate per thousand dollars of $5.21 remains lower than other Western New York counties such as Niagara ($7.36), Monroe ($8.99), Chautauqua ($9.22), and Genesee ($9.89), according to the NYS Association of Counties.

This budget proposal still needs to be approved by the Erie County Legislature.

Late Monday the Republican Minority Leader of the Legislature released a statement saying "we are opposing the direction this proposed budget takes this county." It continued by saying that the number one priority of the minority caucus is removing the property tax increase from the budget.