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Letter: ECMC should be allowed to keep all of the money

ECMC should be allowed to keep all of the money

Recently, the Erie County Legislature voted to authorize Erie County Medical Center to borrow up to $120 million through the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority. ECMC needs the funding in order to build a new Emergency Department and make additional capital upgrades to its main campus. While every single member of the Legislature supports the great work done at ECMC, the vote didn’t occur without controversy.

Under the approved plan, ECMC will be required to forego tens of millions of dollars in savings, and pay that money to Erie County government. As has been stated publicly, this is being done to allow the administration more room in its budget – not to help ECMC. We, the undersigned, did not support that plan, but tried to ensure ECMC received every benefit possible when borrowing through the Fiscal Stability Authority. In fact, we tried to amend the proposal to accomplish that goal, but were defeated by one vote. Not only was the failure disappointing; it was mind-boggling. How could people who say they support ECMC vote against allowing the hospital to utilize the actual savings? It simply doesn’t add up.

Fortunately, it appears the ECMC board of directors, which must approve any payment to Erie County, is finally paying attention. While our amendment benefiting the hospital failed in the Legislature, we urge the board of directors not to authorize any payment back to Erie County. The Legislature voted to allow ECMC to borrow through the authority for ECMC’s benefit. Use it to the fullest extent possible.

Joseph Lorigo

Ted Morton

Edward Rath

Erie County Legislature

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