Erie County Legislature Passes Amended 2013 Budget

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM EDT

By John Borsa

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The Erie County Legislature approved a 2013 amended budget Tuesday night that does not include the 3.4% property tax increase introduced in County Executive Mark Poloncarz's $1.4 billion budget proposal.

A majority consisting of four Republicans, one Democrat and an Independent voted to cut $8.5 million from the spending plan instead of moving forward with the tax increase.

The additional tax would have cost the average Erie County property owner about $18 per year.

Poloncarz said in a news conference following the Legislature's session that the cuts will create financial problems for the county next year.

"I will fix it. I will do what's necessary to ensure that the budget balances. If they don't want to act like adults I will," he said.

Lawmakers cut the county's budget for lawsuit settlements, jail overtime and emergency welfare payments.

Poloncarz said the county will need to spend the money anyway and will consider layoffs, a wage freeze, road repair cuts and other decreases in services to make up the difference.

But the majority in the Legislature defended the move, saying taxpayers are better off.

"There's probably no area in the country more representative of the middle class than Erie County. And I think these amendments are in the best interest of the middle class," said Legislator Thomas Loughran.

The Amherst lawmaker was the only Democrat who sided with Republicans to pass the budget.

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