Tonawanda News — Two Tonawanda projects could be the beneficiaries of recently planned increases in Erie County’s 2013 budget.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz plans to add several hundred thousand dollars to its budget that would aid in bringing two Tonawanda projects to fruition.
He indicated, with Western New York’s aging infrastructure, increased funding for capital projects is necessary.
“When I was elected last November, I heard the message loud and clear: The public demands we finally address our deteriorating roads, bridges and parks,” Poloncarz said. “I have listened. My proposed budget will help ensure the safety and well-being of residents across Erie County by investing in our aging infrastructure with an additional $700,000 for pay-as-you-go capital improvements and increasing the capital projects budget to $39 million.”
While Poloncarz has been criticized by some for a budget that proposed a tax increase in an area already hard hit by some of the highest rates in the nation, some of the funding would be spent on a Brighton Road overhaul in the town as well as an expansive Tonawanda Rails to Trails program that would turn an unused rail line running from North Buffalo to the Niagara River in the City of Tonawanda into a bicycle path.
Poloncarz said a $39 million 2013 capital budget would be bonded and leveraged by $19 million in state and federal funding, setting the total at $58.2 million for more than 60 projects across the county. While a slew of town, city and village projects related to road and bridge construction are among the proposal, some of the funding would also be sent to county parks, Erie Community College and the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, among others.
Poloncarz’s noted his plan would be paying off more debt than it adds for the coming fiscal year, including $40.6 million in principal and $17.6 million in interest from debt service associated with prior capital projects, though approval for the budget still requires passage by the county legislature.