(WIVB) – Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is promising the lowest property tax rate in modern history, because of higher assessments.
But Poloncarz is making the lower tax rate the big focus of his latest county budget.
Despite the lower tax rate, most tax bills will be going up.
The county executive says Erie County residents’ property values have a long history of staying flat, while housing markets across the country have gone up.
For homeowners, Mark Poloncarz says higher property values are a good thing, and that is why he can cut property tax rates.
Poloncarz says property tax rates have fallen by 14 percent in his 12 years in office, and in 2022 they will be the lowest in at least 60 years.
His proposed spending plan will cut the property tax rate from $4.42 per $1,000 of assessed value to $4.33.
“It is the lowest tax rate in modern county history,” Poloncarz said. “We can go back many years, it is the lowest property tax rate any county executive has ever presented to the people of Erie County.”
Despite the lowest property tax rate in decades, Poloncarz says the county’s tax levy is going up by about three percent, which is below the state mandate cap and the rate of inflation.
In a 45 second pre-recorded message, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw is calling the plan “smoke and mirrors”.
“Government spending is up. More government jobs are being added to the payroll,” Mychajliw said. “There is a massive surplus. But look at your tax bill, look at how much you pay in this budget compared to the year before. Your taxes are going up.”
Poloncarz responded with his latest dig against a political rival.
“This guy has lost his marbles. He is attacking the good government club, right now, seriously, which is a non-partisan organization,” Poloncarz said.
Poloncarz’ spending plan includes a number of priorities for 2022, including infrastructure improvements such as highways and roads, relief for small businesses, and a countywide high speed broadband network.
Legislator joe Lorigo, chairman of the minority caucus, agrees with many of them.
“But I am disappointed that the levy is increasing, and that we are continually spending more and more money,” Lorigo said. “At some point tax the spending needs to get reined in and we need to provide actual real tax relief to Erie County residents.”
The $1.8 billion spending plan now goes to the Erie County Legislature for review. County lawmakers will set up hearings with department heads, and suggest changes during November.. Then the final plan would come up for a vote during the first week in December.