Gov. Paterson: Let the County Borrow

27 Jun

A message from the County Comptroller:

As you may know, for some time now the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority (“Authority”) has prevented my office from issuing bonds on behalf of Erie County so that we may complete important public safety and infrastructure projects for the County. When the Authority was created by the state it was never contemplated that the Authority would prevent the County from borrowing during good financial times, but it has done so and these actions have hurt this community.

As a result, earlier this week the New York State Senate and Assembly almost unanimously and with bipartisan support approved legislation to amend the Authority’s enabling act in order to close the loophole that prevented the County from completing its own borrowing even when the County is financially healthy.

While the legislation has passed the state legislature, before it can can take effect Governor David Paterson must sign this legislation into law. Today I wrote to the Governor asking him to sign the legislation into law, and now I ask that you do the same.

Notwithstanding the Authority’s claims to the contrary, the County is well on the road to fiscal stability, having achieved three consecutive years of balanced budgets with surpluses, even when the Authority consistently claimed the County was operating in a deficit. I am proud to say that at least two of those three years’ results happened on my watch, and this year is trending towards another positive year.

Since talking office I have never asked you to take any action but your help is needed now. If Governor Paterson hears from the taxpayers of our community I know he will sign this legislation into law and let our elected leaders, not appointed members of a state authority, borrow on your behalf to complete these very important but delayed projects

Therefore, I ask each of you to write to Governor David Paterson and ask him to sign into law the legislation, which will return representative democracy to Erie County and ensure that needed but delayed capital projects are completed this year.

To do so just click on this link, fill out the required information and cut and paste the below message (after the jump) to the Governor asking him to sign this important piece of legislation into law. If you do so you will have my sincere appreciation, but more importantly, you will help move our community forward.

Thank you and best wishes to one and all,

Mark Poloncarz
Erie County Comptroller

Dear Governor Paterson,

For too long the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority has stopped Erie County from providing important public safety and other projects to the community through its arbitrary prevention of the County’s efforts to pay for these projects. When New York State created the Authority no one expected that the appointed members of the Authority would overrule rational decisons of our elected officials and thus prevent Erie County from borrowing for needed projects during healthy financial times, but it has and these actions have harmed our community.

The time has come to close this loophole in the Authority’s law. Therefore, I ask you to join the State Senate and Assembly in doing so by signing into law Senate Bill S.8571 and Assembly Bill A.11610. Your signing into law of this legislation will ensure that needed projects for Erie County, including projects delayed for over a year now, are completed and no further harm to our community takes place.

Since the creation of the Authority the voters of Erie County overwhelmingly elected a new comptroller and legislature in 2005 and a new county executive in 2007. These individuals have called on your office to sign into law this legislation, and I join them and the State legislature in asking for your approval of this legislation.

Therefore, I respectfully request that you sign into law Senate Bill S.8571 and Assembly Bill A.11610 when they are presented for your approval in the coming days. Thank you,

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