Niagara Gazette

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June 21, 2007

ERIE COUNTY BLOG: Control board OKs controversial borrowing

Erie County’s Legislature was in a tizzy at its June 5 meeting, a response to a last second letter from Control Board Chairman Anthony Baynes.

The letter had asked them to reconsider letting County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz’s office borrow about $100 million in loans to close temporary gaps in the budget. With a lower bond rating, the control board could get the loans at a cheaper rate, Baynes argued.

The problem, both to Poloncarz and lawmakers, was that if the control board was unable to get the loans quickly enough, the county would literally run out of money — for its operations, for its payroll and for its numerous vendors who have contracts to provide services — at the end of June.

The control board relented on Friday, approving the loans at a meeting at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library auditorium.

“The Erie County Legislature has previously approved similar revenue anticipation notes to meet costs from mandated social service programs when the state and federal governments have not reimbursed the county in a timely fashion,” said Legislature Chairwoman Lynn Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda. “We appreciate the (control board) taking action to allow Erie County to continue offering services and to operate these vital programs for our community.”

Builders union sides with GOP hopefuls


The Western New York region of the Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors announced its county endorsements a little more than a week ago. They are Chris Collins for county executive, incumbents Michael Ranzenhofer in the fourth district, John Mills for the 13th district, Kathy Konst for the fifth district, Cynthia Locklear in the ninth district, newcomers Ed Rath for the 15th district and Bradley Rowles in the 14th district. All are Republicans except Konst and Locklear, who are the two legislature Democrats most likely to side with Republicans.

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