The Erie County Legislature is from Missouri

20 Nov

The Buffalo News Editorial Board made little sense today in its call for the Erie County Legislature to immediately ask that the control board do long-term borrowing.

For months, legislatures have been bugging the control board to put up or shut up when it comes to its claim of millions of dollars’ worth of savings were it to do that borrowing, versus the elected Comptroller. Show me.

They’ve been so adamant and eager about doing that borrowing that allegations have swirled that the control board’s own financial advisor went behind the county’s back, convincing bond insurance companies to back out of quotes previously give. That’s a serious allegation that even the Editorial Board said needed investigating. Show me.

Today, the News writes:

Here’s what needs to happen. The control board should take up the Legislature’s invitation to speak about the loan at next Monday’s meeting. It should use that public forum to explain to legislators and taxpayers, alike, why the board should do the borrowing. Indeed, such an exchange should have occurred weeks ago.

Yes, it should have. And the reason it hasn’t has to do with the control board. Not county government. Show me.

Legislators should listen. Then, barring some unforeseen revelation, they should authorize the control board to borrow. As Legislature Chairwoman Lynn Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda, observed, the Legislature and control board are at an impasse that threatens deadlines for work on the county budget. Legislators need to face reality and get this work under way. The county has obligations that trump all the other concerns. We don’t need yet another fiscal crisis in County Hall.

Well, to be honest, what’s the point of listening, then? Why has it been so difficult for the control board to actually come up to the legislature and show them the offers they’ve got in black and white? Why should the legislature ask the control board to do the borrowing without being able to compare its offers with the Comptrollers? Show me.

One Response to “The Erie County Legislature is from Missouri”

  1. Betty Jean Grant November 20, 2007 at 9:55 pm #

    Alan,

    You are head on-dead on! The Legislature has been asking the control board for months for the data that proves that they (control board) can borrow money cheaper than our elected comptroller. Don’t forget that borrowing money is one of the duties Marc Polancarz is charged with. When the city’s control board or Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority borrowed money for the city, they had to because Buffalo was at its borrowing limits. The city had no choice but to allow the control board to do that or else go into default. Erie County is not at its borrowing limits and its county comptroller can borrow for us. The control board also cost Erie County Taxpayers millions of dollars when they lied and said that many companies wanted to buy our tax liens. We had to re bid the the package and the same two companies submitted bids but the Xspand Bid, the original bidder,was millions of dollars less in the rebid than in their first bid. The control board is simply trying to ensure its longevity by borrowing money for us. Once they borrow the money, they are around for the long haul because they have to remain for the life of the loan. The legislature recently took a vote to request the control board to provide the necessary data. That action had bi partisan support. Every legislator , with the exception of one Republican, either Ranzenhofer or Weinstein, voted in favor.The control board needs to be honest and upfront with the citizens of Erie county. Their decisions have more to do with cementing their existence than they do with saving taxpayers money. If they can borrow, in the long term, cheaper than the comptroller, then they should be given that opportunity. But first; like you said, Alan, they must Show Us. Finally, the control board does not work for free. They get their almost one million dollars stipend off of the top of the sales tax revenue. They get paid first before any kind of money is distributed anywhere. That seems a little parasitic to me but hey, I call them as I see them.

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