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Kevin Hardwick - District 10

Republican Caucus applauds County Executive's efforts, plans for $44 million surplus

County Executive Chris Collins announced during his March 11 State of the County address that the state of the County is strong thanks to superb management and sound planning. The Erie County Republican Caucus, led by Minority Leader John Mills, R-District 13, applauds Collins' success and hopes to continue to build on the solid foundation it has created with the executive during the past two years.

The Republican Caucus was very encouraged by Collins support for the Real Property Tax Stabilization Fund that they proposed last year. Collins pledged to direct $10 million of the $44 million surplus to the fund, which will be used to prevent any potential tax increases. The members strongly agree with Collins that in today's uncertain economy and issues with state government, the County cannot be too conservative in preparing for the future and protecting taxpayer dollars. The Republican Caucus will continue to work this year on implementing the fund through legislation.

Smart use of the surplus today will save additional money in the future, the Caucus highlighted. Instead of creating programs, the money will be used to pay several debts, including zeroing out a $4 million negative balance in the County's Road Fund. Maintaining and repairing the County's infrastructure is one of the members' main goals for this year and making the road fund whole again will put the County on the right path for making responsible fiscal decisions regarding the necessary repairs to County roads. The Caucus also applauds the decision to use $18 million to pay off old capital debt related to the Erie County Medical Center. This single act will eliminate the County's ECMC debt, and save taxpayers millions.

The Republican Caucus hopes that the Legislature and the County Executive can continue to implement smart business principles into their decision making, forcing the real changes that taxpayers want and deserve. The Caucus looks forward to working with Collins as he continues to change Erie County into a place where people want to live, businesses want to locate, and tourists want to visit.

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