BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The 2021 Erie County budget was passed Thursday.
The 1.6 billion dollar budget includes a property tax decrease of 29 cents, and an increased tax levy of 2.2%.
“More taxes are being levied in 2021 than have ever been in the history of Erie County,” said Republican Minority Leader Joe Lorigo.
The 7-4 Democratic majority amended and voted on the budget to include almost four million dollars in pork spending. The money will be split up per legislative district.
The money, Democrat Kevin Hardwick says will go directly into the community and to its people for various initiatives, but republicans believe there is “no idea of how that money is going to be spent.”
Republicans criticized the spending during the time of a pandemic. The four person minority republican body put forth a 5 million dollar small business package relief that was shut down.
“The democrats think that pork in their districts is better than helping out small businesses,” Lorigo said.
“Our spending is for the people in need throughout the year,” said Hardwick.
In addition, the amended budget also cuts 19 county positions including nine Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies from the Alden Correctional Facility. Ten other county employees will also be out of a job.
“The republicans criticizes us on that today on the floor of the Legislature, and they didn’t put those jobs back in their amendment either,” Hardwick said.
“They’re doing this at a time when we’re unsure what sales tax will be like next year, what the cost of the COVID pandemic will be and we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” said Lori.