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Ed Rath Explains His Opposition To 2010 Erie County Budget

by on December 15, 2009

The following letter to the editor by Erie County Legislator Ed Rath will appear in the Amherst Bee tomorrow:

Dear Editor:
Erie County has adopted its 2010 budget. I am happy to report that the budget keeps tax rates steady for next year. During these difficult economic times, it does not make sense to further burden Erie County taxpayers. Just as taxpayers across the county have done, Erie County must also continue to do more with less. For that very reason, I also voted against the budget.

The majority added to next year’s budget millions of dollars of pork, patronage and nonsensical duplicative services. Of course, in order to fund this extra spending and still hold the line on taxes, those voting for the budget had to make certain cuts. The cuts that were made were ill-advised and an affront to Erie County taxpayers. First, the majority contrived savings from an employee turnover account. This budget line identifies personnel funds that will not be spent because of individuals leaving positions. The administration used a formula based on historical figures. Rather than looking at reality, the majority simply changed this number to allow more spending. This is wrong.

The majority did make some actual cuts in spending to fund their pet projects. Unfortunately, one of these cuts was $700,000 from road maintenance funding. This move is anti-economic development and anti-safety. The majority also cut funds necessary to allow tax foreclosures to proceed. Not only do these foreclosures provide much needed revenue, they also allow purchasers to rehabilitate abandoned properties. By cutting these funds, the majority is promoting blight.

For these reasons, I could not support the budget as amended by the majority of legislators. Rather than looking out for the best interests of taxpayers, the budget was used as a way to give political gifts to some and settle political scores with others. It is irresponsible, short-sighted and wrong.

Yours Truly,

Edward A. Rath, III
Erie County Legislator
15th District

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