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Erie County towns looking to become part of Wyoming County

Posted at 7:09 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 19:34:27-05

MARILLA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Marilla, Wales and Hollard are all looking into leaving Erie County to become part of Wyoming County. Grand Island is doing the same, to potentially become part of Niagara County.

"We said let's do it," emphasized Marilla Town Supervisor Earl Gingerich Jr. (R) about a Facebook post, suggesting the town joins Wyoming County, became popular.

Now Gingerich Jr. said the town is discussing the idea for multiple reasons:

Gingerich Jr. said the mandates that Erie County put on them is not fair, since the town is more spread out than other Erie County cities and towns.

"Terrain makes difference, demographics," said Gingerich Jr. He said Marilla isn't as congested as the City of Buffalo, which is 50 times bigger.

"We feel constitutional rights are being violated," said Gingerrich Jr. "We've been in a continued state of emergency, and the county executive has ruled more like a king than a tyrant."

7 News Reporter Michael Schwartz said to Gingerich Jr., "So you're not a fan of [Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz]"

Gingerrich Jr. replied, "I actually voted for him all three times, and had been in support of him..."I'm just disappointed the last couple of years. I don’t dislike him as a person I could sit down with him, put politics aside and have a good time with him. I don’t know if he feels the same about me anymore."

The town supervisor said he looks at the job a politician has done, not their party

Poloncarz released an lengthy statement saying that the continued state of emergency keeps the county eligible for federal disaster aide. Adding that seceding would lead to the elimination of local services, such as police, and a dramatic increase in property taxes.

"I think hes being ultra dramatic on some of those issues," said Gingerich Jr. "We don’t require as big of law enforcement as a bigger suburb or urban area."He said he's been looking into some of those changes.

Poloncarz also said:

"Erie County is the only county in NYS that shares sales tax revenue with municipalities and school districts; these revenues would be lost for any municipality that left Erie County, as well as for the school districts that exist there.”

"That's not something I want to lose at this point," said Sarah Regdos of Marilla. who read Poloncarz's statement.

Gingerich Jr. said the town has been forgotten about when it comes to repairing roads.

"I don’t feel infrastructure is being taken care of, specifically in county roads," said Gingerich Jr. "I don’t feel again were fairly represented."

Gingerich Jr. said to improve relations with Erie County, he just wants their needs to be heard from the rural outskirts. He said he has been waiting on drain work, but after more than a year of delays he's "not holding my breath."

Gingerich Jr. said he feels Erie County is wasting money. That includes the controversial overtime earned by the county's health director, which Gingerich Jr. saud he learned of from 7 News' investigative report.

Gingerich Jr. said he wishes more local leaders in the entire county were involved in discussions. He added the Erie County Legislatue should be abolished, to allow town supervisors in the county to come together on decisions.

Gingerich Jr. said if the idea becomes more favorable, then there will be a preliminary study done before a petition is made for residents.

"Then we have to go ahead and do a thorough study, which would be costly to see pros and cons, and impacts of each county," said Gingerich Jr., admitting it could be costly.

"Our values or closer to Wyoming county," said Gingerich Jr.

Schwartz asked, "Do you feel part of Erie county?"

"I've always felt part of Erie County and my personal choice is I don’t really care to leave Erie County, but I owe it to the people to look into possibilities if it's better for them," explained Gingerich Jr.