The latest compromise between Erie County, N.Y., and its financial control board appears to be dead before arrival. Today the county legislature will hold a special session to enact a "home rule message" asking the state Legislature to amend the legislation that created the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority so that the county can sell bonds on its own so long as it has two investment grade ratings as it currently does.
A bill to that effect was introduced into state Assembly and state Senate on Monday and Tuesday respectively. The county and the control board have been deadlocked since last year over which should borrow for needed capital projects. The latest compromise would have allowed either one to sell $63.1 million of bond anticipation notes based on cost savings. The county comptroller's office issued a request for proposals for underwriters that is due today at 3 p.m. Under the latest compromise, if the savings the control board's higher credit rating would generate would be more than $100,000 compared to what the county could do, then the control board would issue the Bans, otherwise the county would sell them.
On Wednesday the control board voted to require the county to show its cost savings by 5 p.m. today.
We "need a little bit more than two hours to do the complete statistical analysis of the responses that we get," Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz said. "We're just not going to be able to comply with that and maybe they're trying to ensure that I don't comply with it so they can criticize me afterward and penalize me."
Poloncarz said he is hopeful the bill will pass before the state legislative session ends on Monday and that the county will be able to issue debt on its own.
Control board executive director Kenneth Vetter could could not be reached for comment.