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COUNTY OF ERIE

MARK C. POLONCARZ
COUNTY EXECUTIVE

May 8, 2020

The Honorable
Erie County Legislature
92 Franklin Street, Fourth Floor
Buffalo, New York 14202

Re: May 4" 2020 Deficit Declaration Letter from Comptroller Mychajliw

Dear Honorable Legislators:

On May 4" 2020 Comptroller Mychajliw clocked-in a deficit notification letter under section
2511 of the Erie County Charter. While Comptroller Mychajliw is absolutely correct in his assessment
that Erie County faces a fiscal crisis of historic proportions, it is premature to declare a formal deficit and
trigger the provision of section 2511 requiring the County Executive to submit a deficit correction plan
within seven days.

First, it is important to note that Erie County does not formally have a deficit at this time. Erie
County's first-quarter budget monitoring report will report a positive variance of $2,512,424. While we
know the second quarter and beyond will face tremendous revenue shortfalls, likely in excess of
$200,000,000, that amount has not yet been officially quantified.

Second, from a practical perspective, it is critical that we know what further action will be taken
by the Federal Government in the month of May in the form of financial relief for State's and Counties.
My staff and I have been in frequent communication with our Federal delegation, as well as the National
Association of Counties (NACO) and the New York State Association of Counties {NYSAC) on this topic.
From these conversations as well as reporting by local and national media outlets, we believe that a
fourth Coronavirus response bill will be introduced in the coming weeks.

Based on our conversations with NACO and NYSAC as well as Sen. Schumer's office, we know
that substantial financial assistance for Erie County is likely to be included in this legislation. That
financial aid could reduce the county's deficit by tens of millions of dollars or more. Knowing how much
aid Erie County will receive in the fourth coronavirus bill, if any, is necessary to accurately prepare a
deficit response plan. Without this aid, Erie County could be in a position where we are forced to lay off
employees. It would be irresponsible to proceed with a workforce reduction plan that could be rectified
with forthcoming Federal aid.

RATH BUILDING • 95 FRANKLIN STREET • BUFFALO, N.Y. ·14202· (716) 858-6000 • WWW.ERIE.GOV
As such, today I am signing an emergency order to modify section 2511 of the Erie County
Charter to extend the administration's response deadline from seven days to thirty days. This additional
time will allow us to prepare a deficit closing plan that accurately reflects the state of Erie County's
finances and the resources we have available.

Erie County has already acted to improve our fiscal position through actions such as instituting
fund blocks, freezing non-essential hires, and delaying certain large payments. My administration is
taking this looming fiscal crisis with the utmost seriousness. In the event that a fourth coronavirus bill
does not pass Congress or does not include sufficient aid for counties, my administration will take any
and all steps necessary steps to rectify the deficit.

Sincerely yours,

Mark C. Poloncarz, Esq.


Erie County Executive

MCP

cc: Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr.


Budget Director Robert Keating
Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority
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LOCAL EMERGENCY ORDER


· TO SUSPEND OR MODIFY LOCAL LAWS

WHEREAS, on March 15, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I declared a State
of Emergency within the County of Erie; and

WHEREAS, on March 7, 2020, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York
issued Executive Order Number 202, declaring a State Disaster Emergency for the entire
State of New York; and

WHEREAS, on May 4, 2020, the Erie County Comptroller ("Comptroller") submitted a


letter to the Erie County Legislature in which he stated that he was •.. declaring a deficit
pursuant to the Erie County Charter"; and

WHEREAS, section 2511 of the Erie County Charter mandates that the County Executive
provide a written proposal of actual remedies to overcome a deficit no more than seven
days from the date such deficit is properly declared; and

WHEREAS, the Comptroller's deficit projection does not account for any financial
relief for Counties which may be forthcoming from the Federal Government; and

WHEREAS, any proposal to remedy the deficit as projected by the Comptroller will
necessarily include a budget reduction plan that will significantly impair the County's
ability to provide essential services to its residents; and
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WHEREAS, the health and welfare of the residents of Erie County will be imperiled
thereby; and

WHEREAS, knowing the amount and duration of federal financial relief Erie County will
receive prior to preparing a proposal of remedies to overcome a deficit will allow for a
more thoughtful approach to planning which may obviate any need for an Erie County
workforce reduction plan and further permit the continued delivery of essential services to
the residents of Erie County.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mark C. Poloncarz, the Chief Executive of the County of Erie,
New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 24(l)(g) of New York State
Executive Law do hereby:

• suspend or modify Section 2511 of the Erie County Charter to the extent necessary
to extend the time period by which the County Executive must present a written
proposal of actual remedies to overcome a deficit from seven days to thirty days
after the date upon which a report is submitted to the Legislature which sets forth
an estimated deficit.

Tis order shall take ettect at L: OO _i) May,{ 2020 and.


shat remain i
effect for five days or until removed by order of the Chief Executive. This order may also
be renewed in five (5) day increments.

Signed this _8__ day of May, 2020, at~ in Erie County, New York.

Mark C. Poloncarz, County Executive


Erie County, New York Witness
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