Comptroller Accuses County Executive of "Witholding" Required Budget Info

9:02 PM, Oct 3, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - The Erie County Comptroller is firing a shot across the bow of the County Executive.

Stefan Mychajliw sent out a press release on Tuesday morning, accusing Mark Poloncarz of failing to meet a legal deadline, to provide certain information in advance of the coming 2014 budget proposal.

The County charter says that by October 1st, the Executive shall submit for the Comptrollers review, a report including revenue and expenditure projections for the budget, even though the spending plan itself isn't actually due for another 2 weeks.

According to Mychajliw, the report was delivered to his office about 5 minutes before Tuesday's deadline.

However, he says the report was incomplete, missing a projection of property tax revenues.

The cover letter attached to the report from the administration, explains that the budget department is "still making adjustments...and as a result cannot provide the tax revenue estimates at this time."

"We cannot look at and break down the numbers, without this specific revenue projection," Mychajliw told WGRZ-TV. "This represents the second biggest piece of the (revenue) pie when it comes to the county budget."

Mychajliw also noted, with perhaps some irony, that five years ago, when Poloncarz was the Comptroller, Poloncarz criticized then County Executive Chris Collins for essentially doing the same thing.

"We just want the County Executive to follow the same exact rules that he wanted his predecessor to follow years ago," he said.

The County Executive's Press secretary, Peter Anderson, told Channel 2 News that Poloncarz was "out of the office" and "unavailable" to answer questions regarding all this.

Anderson, however, e-mailed the following statement Wednesday afternoon :
"Unfortunately this is criticism simply for the sake of criticism from the Comptroller. Yesterday, my administration forwarded the Comptroller's office all the expense and revenue information as required by the Charter and Administrative Code, while assuring the public that this budget does not include any property tax rate increase. Any criticism now by Mr. Mychajliw is just feigning outrage to score some cheap political points during campaign season."
"The County Executive is not providing the information which he is charter mandated to do," Mychajliw said.
On his Twitter account, Poloncarz tweeted a message Tuesday, indicating that while the spending plan had not been finalized, there would be no increase in the property tax "rate" for next year's budget.

It should be noted, however, that even if - as Poloncarz says--the property tax :rate will stay flat, that doesn't mean your taxes won't go up.

The rate is the amount you pay per every thousand dollars of your assessed property value.

If you have been re-assessed in the past year, and if that assessment amount is higher, your taxes will rise as well.

Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 on Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Dave Harrington. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2 

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