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Efficiency plan to bring rebate checks to homeowners next year

Many Erie County homeowners can expect a check in the mail next fall now that New York State government has approved an Erie County government efficiency plan.

The size of each homeowner’s rebate check will depend on the value of their homes and the extent to which their school district and municipal government remained under the state’s property tax cap.

County officials on Wednesday speculated, based on past history, that the rebate checks could range from the low double digits to hundreds of dollars.

Erie County joined with 37 town and village governments in submitting the plan earlier this year.

“In all, 37 communities, towns and villages submitted a plan comprised of more than 70 examples of shared services, cooperative agreements and other efficiencies that will save taxpayers … more than $14 million annually,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

Cooperative, money-saving efforts that have been developed since January 2012, or will be developed down the road, include changes in assessment practices, hazardous-waste recycling efforts, dispatch staffing and health care cooperatives, among others, said county Budget Analyst Mark Cornell.

Village of Springville Mayor William Krebs, who serves as director for the Association of Erie County Governments, said local governments are grateful to Erie County and Poloncarz for leading the effort to bring municipalities together to submit a countywide efficiency plan. He noted that local governments have been working cooperatively with each other and the county for years.

Last year, qualified homeowners received a rebate check if their local school district remained under the property tax cap. This fall or winter, homeowners will also receive a rebate check for 2015 for both their school and local government property taxes if the entities remained under the tax cap.

Poloncarz’s announcement on Wednesday pertains to next year’s rebate check. Homeowners get the rebate check in 2016 if local governments and school districts implement an approved government efficiency plan that projects 1 percent tax levy savings for 2017, 2018 and 2019 and adopt a 2016 budget under the property tax cap. The county helped towns and villages draft their plans. School districts were responsible for their own.