Mark Poloncarz

Mark Poloncarz This is the official government page for Erie Co. Executive Mark Poloncarz. The Administrator reserves the right to remove any and all comments and when you post a comment you agree all of your comments are subject to moderation and deletion.

Welcome to the Official page for Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz. This purpose of this page is to keep you up-to-date on my efforts to protect County taxdollars and expose waste, fraud and abuse in County government as well as serve as medium to foster discussion about important County issues. As this is the official government page, I request that all discussion and content is to be limited to Erie County issues. Any and all political comments or discussion will be removed promptly. Additionally, the right is reserved to remove any other items, comments or photos that are deemed inappropriate by the administrator. Unfortunately, this format does not give me the opportunity to respond to individual comments or questions. If you are in need of assistance or would like more information, please call my office at 716-858-8404 or visit us on the web at www.erie.gov/comptroller. Additionally, if you would like to report an instance of waste, fraud or abuse in County government, please call my anonymous Whistleblower Hotline at 716-858-7722.

Today the US surpassed a grim total: 150,000 of our fellow Americans have died from the Coronavirus/COVID-19.If 150,000 ...
07/29/2020

Today the US surpassed a grim total: 150,000 of our fellow Americans have died from the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

If 150,000 Americans were killed by a foreign enemy the federal government would have already acted.

The president and Congress must act now to help us prevent the deaths of thousands more.

Our Erie County Department of Health contact tracers have identified a set of individuals with a positive COVID-19 test ...
07/29/2020

Our Erie County Department of Health contact tracers have identified a set of individuals with a positive COVID-19 test who attended activities together at New Zion Baptist Church in Buffalo. This Friday from 10 am - 2 pm we will offer a "pop-up" test clinic for all Church members, their families and households, and the surrounding community. No appointment is necessary.

Learn more:

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and I will provide our weekly #COVID19 update to...
07/29/2020
Erie County NY

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein and I will provide our weekly #COVID19 update today at 2:30pm. Watch it live on Erie County, NY's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ErieCountyNY

Official YouTube site for the government of Erie County, New York

COVID-19 hospitalization data for July 27 reveals a 2 person increase in cases from July 26: WNY patients increased to 3...
07/29/2020

COVID-19 hospitalization data for July 27 reveals a 2 person increase in cases from July 26: WNY patients increased to 32 from 30 and Erie County 31 from 29. These are still very low numbers. As released last night, Erie County's new positive cases are still low: 1.3% for 7/27.

07/29/2020
NY State COVID Rent Relief Program

REMINDER: The last day to apply to the New York State COVID Rent Relief Fund is tomorrow, July 30th! Watch this video to learn more about the program and don't miss your opportunity to apply. Visit: https://hcr.ny.gov/RRP.

The COVID Rent Relief Program will provide eligible households with a one-time rental subsidy that will be sent directly to the household’s landlord. Applica...

Cocaine is a dangerous drug on its own. When it's spiked with fentanyl, it's a killer. Unfortunately, people are dying i...
07/29/2020
Spike in overdose deaths attributed to cocaine users

Cocaine is a dangerous drug on its own. When it's spiked with fentanyl, it's a killer.

Unfortunately, people are dying in WNY from Cocaine laced with fentanyl. Read more about this disturbing trend and the help that is available:

https://buffalonews.com/news/local/spike-in-overdose-deaths-attributed-to-cocaine-users/article_51d48d12-d104-11ea-9470-9bf6ae0f5630.html

Erie County's three-year decline in overdose deaths is coming to an end.

For Monday, July 27, 2,817 COVID-19 tests were reported to our Department of Health and 38 new cases were identified for...
07/29/2020
Mark Poloncarz on Twitter

For Monday, July 27, 2,817 COVID-19 tests were reported to our Department of Health and 38 new cases were identified for a daily positivity rate of 1.3%. Total cases are now 8,235.

Unfortunately, 6 new deaths were confirmed today, some dating back to Wednesday, July 22. Total deaths are now 669.

“For Monday, July 27, 2,817 COVID-19 tests were reported to @ECDOH and 38 new cases were identified for a daily positivity rate of 1.3%. Total cases are now 8,235. Unfortunately, 6 new deaths were confirmed today, some dating back to Wednesday, July 22. Total deaths are now 669.”

Today, I joined District Attorney John Flynn and health experts to issue a warning to the public that cocaine is being m...
07/29/2020

Today, I joined District Attorney John Flynn and health experts to issue a warning to the public that cocaine is being mixed with fentanyl and people of all ages are dying from it.

If you use cocaine please call our 24 Hour Addiction Hotline at 716-831-7007 and let us help you overcome your habit before it takes everything from you, including your life.

07/28/2020

Today, I was honored to be elected unanimously by my county colleagues in the Northeast, from Maine to Maryland, to be their regional representative on the National Association of Counties' Executive Committee. There are only 8 members of the Executive Committee and it gives me a key voice in setting national policies regarding local governments.

It is my honor to represent the people of Erie County and I look forward to working with my colleagues to advocate for our counties and local issues on a national level.

Latest COVID-19 hospitalization data shows Erie County has less than 30 COVID patients in our hospitals for the first ti...
07/28/2020

Latest COVID-19 hospitalization data shows Erie County has less than 30 COVID patients in our hospitals for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. On July 26 there were 30 COVID-19 patients in WNY hospitals, 29 of whom were in Erie County hospitals.

Let's keep it up!

At noon today I will join Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) Commissione...
07/28/2020
Erie County NY

At noon today I will join Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Department of Mental Health Commissioner Mark O'Brien and others to make an important announcement regarding recent opioid drug overdoses and deaths. Watch live on the Erie County, NY YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ErieCountyNY

Official YouTube site for the government of Erie County, New York

Thank you to the The Buffalo News Editorial Board for noting the difficult work environment for our Erie County Departme...
07/28/2020
The Editorial Board: County Legislature’s protest vote on bars skirts real health issues

Thank you to the The Buffalo News Editorial Board for noting the difficult work environment for our Erie County Department of Health inspectors and that the Legislature should support efforts to enforce health regulations, not criticize rules put in place to protect the public.

https://buffalonews.com/opinion/editorial/the-editorial-board-county-legislature-s-protest-vote-on-bars-skirts-real-health-issues/article_7f97bd70-d026-11ea-b0ff-d7d3f03f3178.html

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced over the weekend that daily Covid-19 deaths in the state had fallen to an all-time low, and the state’s infection transmission rate dropped to 1%,

A new CDC study shows COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness, even among young, previously healthy adults with no unde...
07/27/2020

A new CDC study shows COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness, even among young, previously healthy adults with no underlying chronic medical conditions. Everyone, including young adults and those without chronic conditions, should take steps to prevent COVID-19. #SocialDistance #WashHandsOften #WearAMask

Learn more: bit.ly/MMWR72420

Our Erie County Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department is accepting applications for the position of head greenskeeper/...
07/27/2020

Our Erie County Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department is accepting applications for the position of head greenskeeper/superintendent for our Grover Cleveland Golf Course. Who wants to be the greenskeeper of our little gem that hosted the 1912 US Open?

If interested you must apply by August 3:

07/27/2020

I have already contacted NYS and Buffalo Bisons' leadership regarding the Miami Marlins COVID-19 outbreak. While I support the Blue Jays playing in Buffalo, it must be done safely and cannot put our community at risk. No community should be put at risk just for sports.

It's going to be very hot today, with the possibility of some strong thunderstorms passing through the region. The Natio...
07/27/2020

It's going to be very hot today, with the possibility of some strong thunderstorms passing through the region. The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for Niagara and Orleans counties and noted a few isolated strong thunderstorms are possible this afternoon for all of WNY.

07/26/2020

For July 25, 1,883 COVID-19 diagnostic tests were reported and 17 new cases were confirmed for a daily positivity rate of 0.9%.

Total cases through July 25 is now 8,177.

Death data for the weekend is not received until Monday.

These past 2 years Erie County has significantly reduced our greenhouse gas emissions to help address the #ClimateCrisis...
07/26/2020

These past 2 years Erie County has significantly reduced our greenhouse gas emissions to help address the #ClimateCrisis.

Additionally, we've adopted a comprehensive Climate Action and Sustainability Plan to do even more, including to further reduce emissions 50% by 2025.

Learn more about the plan: https://www2.erie.gov/environment/index.php?q=sustainability

07/25/2020
erieny.maps.arcgis.com

For July 24, 2,898 COVID-19 diagnostic test results were reported to our Health Department and 31 new cases were confirmed. The daily positivity rate was 1.1%.

Total cases since the outbreak began through July 24 is now 8,161. These are all individual cases. Learn more at https://t.co/PVJCTrHqLn

07/24/2020

For July 23, 3,363 COVID-19 diagnostic tests were reported to our Department of Health and 47 new cases confirmed for a daily positivity rate of 1.4%. Total cases are now 8,130.

Also for July 23, 35 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Erie County hospitals, 9 of them were in the ICU and 4 had an airway assist.

If every person wore a mask we would stop the transmission of the Coronavirus in its tracks, just like rest of the world...
07/24/2020

If every person wore a mask we would stop the transmission of the Coronavirus in its tracks, just like rest of the world has.

I wear my mask to protect myself and YOU and I need you to do the same to protect me.

We are not asking for much, just #WearAMask in public.

Welcome to Buffalo the Blue Jays! We are glad to host you this year and know we can do it a manner that protects our com...
07/24/2020

Welcome to Buffalo the Blue Jays! We are glad to host you this year and know we can do it a manner that protects our community and your team and the opposing teams.

For the first time in more than 100 years major league baseball is back in Buffalo with the #BuffaloBlueJays. :)

Latest COVID-19 hospitalization data for WNY and Erie County shows a small increase in patients on July 22 from July 21:...
07/24/2020

Latest COVID-19 hospitalization data for WNY and Erie County shows a small increase in patients on July 22 from July 21: 37 in WNY, up from 32, and 35 in Erie County, up from 32. ICU cases also increased from 8 to 10 in WNY, and 8 to 9 for Erie County.
#WearAMask!

07/24/2020
Road Construction on Bayview Road.

Out checking on road construction with Legislator John Gilmour on Bayview Road in Hamburg. Our Erie County DPW crews are hard at work across the county improving our more than 2,400 lane miles of road.

As always, please follow flagger orders and drive slowly through a work zone.

While other parts of the country struggle to meet their communities' needs for COVID-19 testing kits and personal protec...
07/24/2020
Erie County stockpiles supplies for next wave of Covid-19

While other parts of the country struggle to meet their communities' needs for COVID-19 testing kits and personal protective equipment, we've implemented a mammoth purchasing and logistics operation to acquire and stockpile all major items that will be needed in case we get the expected second wave in the fall.

Thank you to the hard working staff of our Purchasing, Emergency Services, Public Works and Health departments to successfully run one of the largest logistics operations our community has ever seen. This will save lives.

Read more below:

Erie County stockpiles supplies for next wave of Covid-19
Sandra Tan Jul 24, 2020 Updated 1 hr ago

Forklifts set down new pallets of hand sanitizer on floor space once devoted to old office desks, metal filing cabinets and other worn and unwanted furniture. Towering shelves of old county records have been eclipsed by even taller pallet racks loaded with cases of face shields, hand sanitizer and tubs of disinfecting wipes.

Emergency response team members walk past the neatly stacked rows of a hulking stockpile meant to supply Erie County up to three months should Covid-19 cases spike once again.

"We now have warehoused far more than we had in March," said Daniel Neaverth Jr., commissioner of the county's Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. "And that initial allotment in March got us through some very difficult times."

More than 5 million of these items have been distributed to health care organizations, first responders and residents since the crisis took hold locally. But recent weeks have given the county time to replenish its supply.

In March and April, the warehouse struggled to fill up to 130 orders a day from providers and organizations across the county. Truckloads of items poured in and out of the warehouse all day long during those months.

Neaverth, Public Works Commissioner William Geary and stockpile coordinator Jonathan Torre remember meeting a shipment from New York State at the warehouse in the wee hours of Easter morning to give other staff some time off.

Now the warehouse is quieter. The number of orders has dropped to 10 or 20 a day. About three dozen boxes were ready to be picked up from the front office last week, many destined for nursing homes, group homes and child care centers. Hospitals, which have bolstered their own supply chains, turn to the county warehouse for backup.

But some shortages of personal protective equipment – PPE – still remain. Torre emerged from one dark aisle with examples of the most coveted item – N95 ventilator masks. He highlighted the different makes and models – molded versus duckbill, some striped, some with exhalation valves. He pulled out ones in different colors, sizes and shapes from various manufacturers.

A reporter asked about the 3M mask model 1860S, a smaller size molded mask in high demand. Torre spoke into his radio to see if there were any to be found in the 50,000-square foot storage facility.

A coworker eventually walked toward him carrying a Ziploc bag with three masks inside.

"That's all I've got," Torre said.

Come a long way

While N95 masks still fall well short of the 90-day stockpile goal, Erie County government is in a good place with its supply of surgical masks, gowns and cloth masks. Hand sanitizer and other disinfecting supplies remain readily available at the warehouse. The county has found local suppliers for items like face shields, Neaverth said.

Our goal is a 90-day supply of everything," he said. "We’re about 75% there."

County Executive Mark Poloncarz credited the work and coordination of the staff of the county's Purchasing, Emergency Services, Public Works and Health departments to get supplies in and out.

"It's one of the largest logistics operations that Erie County has ever had," he said this week. "We've been able to meet the needs of this community, while other parts of the country are struggling for PPE or are struggling for testing kits."

Supply shortages have eased up in Erie County.

That's allowing the county to exercise some "tough love" and turn down requests from physicians and dentists.

The county provided more items to them when they desperately needed supplies but couldn't get any. Erie County had the buying power to get and distribute the items. Now that market supply has loosened up generally and physicians, dentists and others can find what they need in the marketplace, the county is starting to cut back on what it provides in order to build up to its goal of a 90-day stockpile for when things get bad again.

Instead of handing over boxes of N95 masks, for instance, the county will give outside providers a variety of N95 makes and models so private providers can find a good-fitting make and model. Then the county will connect the organizations with reputable private suppliers.

"All of the prices are ridiculous," Neaverth said. "But we’re making sure they’re not charging the doctor's office three times or four times what they’re charging us."

The county also remains active in cross fitting first responders and nursing home personnel with different types of N95 masks so that if one manufacturer's N95 mask is not available, individuals can find a substitute with a different manufacturer.

"What we can’t have is a world where everybody needs is a 3M, N95 1860S mask," he said.

Poloncarz had sought to limit purchases of personal protective equipment to U.S. companies after a series of disappointments and broken promises from overseas suppliers early on.

But county leaders have learned the hard way that sticking to U.S. vendors alone won't enable the county to meet its supply needs and stockpile goals.

Back in April, Neaverth and Geary had bags packed to fly to Minnesota on a moment's notice to supervise the purchase and loading of five tractor-trailers worth of N95 masks produced by U.S. manufacturer 3M.

That highly anticipated $5 million deal hasn't panned out. Neither have efforts to cut a deal for N95 masks from Grainger, a major distributor of industrial supplies.

Erie County officials are now filling orders wherever they can get reliable supply to meet stockpile thresholds. Currently, more than half of the county's supplies come from abroad.

"We’re certainly not going to turn things away from Indonesia or Vietnam," Neaverth said.

While the county has received N95 masks from 3M, the majority are currently coming from Gerson, a manufacturer with plants in both the United States and China.

But county officials anticipate a couple of local companies in Western New York coming on line soon to produce N95 masks locally. Their products just need federal approval, Neaverth said.

Shipping pitfalls and politics

A tractor-trailer backed into one of the warehouse's cargo bays to unload 12 pallets of blue nitrile gloves last week. The gloves came into a California port by way of Malaysia.

Oversees supplies that come to the United State don't always come directly. That's especially true if the supplies originate from China.

Chinese supplies bound for the U.S. tend to get held up by their government, while Chinese shipments bound for other countries tend to sail through, Neaverth said. That's often why Chinese-made products get shipped first to countries like Turkey and Malaysia, he said.

Problems with incorrect and misleading shipments from overseas still pop up, however.

Last month, Erie County ordered four million pairs of surgical-grade nitrile gloves from Malaysia. But what showed up at the warehouse were non-medical grade gloves, written clearly on the boxes, Neaverth said. The county refused the order.

"It’s been purchasing, with a dash of investigation and some rejection," he said.

As Erie County builds a three-month stockpile, when it comes to access to supplies, hospitals are first in line.

"We are well over our 90 days on our goggles, our face shields, our N95 masks," said Charlene Ludlow, chief quality and safety officer for Erie County Medical Center, who also works in partnership with Kaleida Health.

Hospitals have also built up their supply of face shields and goggles, which the hospitals lacked early on, she said.

ECMC and Kaleida have made joint purchases since 2016, said ECMC spokesman Peter Cutler. Both have also leveraged purchasing power as part of the Great Lakes Health System, which also includes the University at Buffalo and the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care.

But while many PPE supplies have loosened up for hospitals, shortages remain, particularly when it comes to cleaning, ventilator and testing supplies, Ludlow said.

In addition, not all area hospitals have the same buying power as those belonging to major health systems.

While the supply chain has loosened up for hospitals, she said, there's no way of knowing whether the new coronavirus will mutate, requiring different equipment and supplies than what hospitals have now.

"Never letting our guard down is really important for this," she said.

County government and hospitals need more storage space to accommodate the growing stockpile of supplies, and officials have searched for space, at least some of which must be temperature and humidity controlled.

The county is in the process of securing a lease on 47,000 square feet of additional warehouse space, 20,000 square feet of which is temperature controlled, said Geary. The county needs climate-controlled storage to protect what they anticipate will be a future vaccine supply.

The county inspected warehouse space from companies like American Axle and Certo Brothers Distributing, but size, cost and other issues prevented the county from making an offer. Other locations were quickly leased before Erie County could commit.

In the meantime, county officials have occasionally relied on private partners to help secure some of its most coveted supplies.

But with a second warehouse, and more supplies coming in than going out these past few weeks, county officials are optimistic.

"We’re not going to take a breath here," Neaverth said. "We do feel comfortable with a majority of our supplies, but there are some items we continue to pursue around the globe."

https://buffalonews.com/news/erie-county-stockpiles-supplies-for-next-wave-of-covid-19/article_a1dd38a0-cacd-11ea-9026-5f972d4103c1.html

In March and April, Erie County struggled to fill up to 130 orders a day from providers and organizations across the county. The county's goal now? A 90-day supply of

Address

95 Franklin Street, Suite 1600
Buffalo, NY
14202

General information

Mark C. Poloncarz is Erie County’s eighth County Executive. He is a graduate of Lackawanna Senior High School, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and the University of Toledo’s College of Law. Before being elected as County Executive, Poloncarz served as Erie County Comptroller for six years. Since being sworn in as County Executive on January 1, 2012, Poloncarz has worked to change the culture of Erie County government and return it to its core mission: providing the programs and services that residents and taxpayers demand in an efficient and effective way. Mark Poloncarz has led the way to balanced county budgets in each year he’s been in office and has cut county taxes to levels not seen since the mid- 90’s. As a result Erie’s county tax rate is now among the lowest in New York State. At the same time, Erie County’s credit rating has risen significantly under his watch while the county has continued to invest millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements, county parks, libraries, and arts organizations; made advances in public health; and supported innovative programs to reduce poverty, among many other achievements. Mark also led the Erie County team in securing a new ten-year lease with the Buffalo Bills during his first year as County Executive. Mark’s Initiatives for a Smart Economy, released in June 2013, and his Initiatives 2.0 version released in June 2017 provide evolving blueprints for comprehensive, innovative economic development across Erie County, with county departments acting either as the lead agency or working with community partners to effect change. Together the two plans encompass over 130 target areas for economic development, with the first Initiatives mostly complete and the second well underway. Mark’s leadership has brought new life to the long-dormant Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna, has reinforced pay equity between genders as the rule in Erie County, and has created new protections for seniors and veterans. As County Executive, Mark has been at the forefront of protecting and enhancing our unique natural assets and has steadily expanded the amount of acres in our county Parks system, along with working to create a cleaner Lake Erie through improvements in wastewater treatment and the passage of a law banning microbead-containing products in the county. Poloncarz has led the way in the fight against the Opioid Epidemic in Erie County and nationally as a member of the County and City National Opioid Epidemic Task Force.

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Tuesday 08:30 - 16:30
Wednesday 08:30 - 16:30
Thursday 08:30 - 16:30
Friday 08:30 - 16:30

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(716) 858-8500

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Welcome to the Official Government page for Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. This purpose of this page is to keep you up-to-date on my efforts as your county executive, as well as to serve as a medium to foster discussion about important County issues. As this is the official governmental information page for Mark Poloncarz, I request that all discussion and content is to be limited to Erie County issues and all comments are subject to moderation and deletion. When you post a comment on this site you agree to the terms of moderation and deletion of your comment. Unfortunately, this format does not give me the opportunity to respond to individual comments or questions. If you are in need of assistance or would like more information, please call my office at 716-858-8500 or visit us on the web at http://www2.erie.gov/exec/.