The Erie County Legislature snapped its logjam on a 2011 budget Tuesday by restoring $4 million in support for the busy library system and renewing grants for an array of arts groups that would have collected no county dollars next year under the county executive’s proposal.
In a surprise, the library allocation drew unanimous Legislature support as the six-member Republican bloc broke from County Executive Chris Collins.
Collins had wanted to drop the county’s contribution to the libraries to $18 million, from $22 million, next year. But amid a public backlash, the Republicans teamed with rarely united Democrats to deliver the full $22 million.
The would-be recipients, however, should not count on the money just yet. Collins, who never likes it when the Legislature messes with his budgets, vowed vetoes and other steps to nullify what lawmakers did.
“Absolutely there are going to be some vetoes,” he told reporters in his 16th-floor office Tuesday evening as county lawmakers went home. “Whether we veto everything or not will be something we will talk to our commissioners about.”
But he added: “Whatever I do, I will look at cutting the funding for the libraries last. I will cut the culturals before I cut funding to the libraries.”