When the Erie County Legislature meets Tuesday in special session, Democratic lawmakers will have to find two Republicans willing to override the Democratic county executive's budget vetoes.
With Buffalo Democrat Michael A. Fitzpatrick planning to be in Las Vegas starting this weekend, it will take all 10 remaining Democrats and a minimum of two Republicans to restore the 17 items Gorski struck Thursday from the $912.4 million budget that the Legislature approved Wednesday.
The County Charter requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to override an executive veto.
Majority Leader Leonard R. Lenihan, D-Town of Tonawanda, said he's fairly certain Republicans Joan K. Bozer of Buffalo and William A. Pauly of Amherst will support the override.
"I'm fairly confident we'll have the votes," Lenihan said. "These items are for the most part items of countywide interest which are worthy of funding."
Pauly said he's likely to give the Democrats the needed 12th vote, even though he didn't vote in favor of the budget itself.
"It was my position early on that I'd help them out if they needed me. If Fitzpatrick isn't going to be here, I guess they'll need my vote," he said.
Mrs. Bozer could not be reached to comment. However, she is expected to vote for the override, because she was the only Republican to vote in favor of the legislative budget.
Fitzpatrick said his absence is unavoidable, adding that he planned his Las Vegas trip far in advance of budget season.
Gorski trimmed $161,192 worth of the $1 million in additions the Legislature made to his spending plan. The trims fall into two general categories: last-minute allocations to community organizations and personnel items.
He also vetoed the $6,250 that lawmakers included as seed money for the Scajaquada Pathway.
County Legislator Charles M. Swanick, D-Kenmore, defended the additions for community organizations, including his request of $5,000 for the Tonawanda Football Clinic, which Gorski cut.
He said such funding is routinely included in the budget to assist non-profit groups that benefit the community and receive no other government funding.
The Tonawanda Football Clinic, a private non-profit group offering recreational football programs for about 600 City of Tonawanda youth, requested $5,000 in county aid to purchase new siding for the group's headquarters, which Swanick said members would install.
He said the Tonawanda Football Clinic is a great value to the community because it offers the only youth football program in the city, encourages parental involvement and keeps kids off the streets and out of trouble.
Swanick lauded the inclusion in the budget of $650,000 to complete the expansion of Isle View Park in the Town of Tonawanda and $200,000 to assist the State Thruway Authority in a study on moving part of the Niagara Thruway back from the Niagara River to expand the Riverwalk.
During their regular meeting Thursday afternoon, Democrats were stymied in their attempt to vote on the vetoes when Republicans blocked action.
The Democrats had hoped for a quick override of the vetoes, but Republican Minority Leader Mary Lou Rath, R-Williamsville, objected, saying she needed time to study Gorski's objections.
But she admitted it's doubtful she'll support restoring the items Gorski trimmed.
Gorski canceled a total of $124,750 earmarked for cultural, public benefit, contract agencies and community groups.
Those vetoes include the following legislative additions: $28,000 for Children's Place Day Care Center; $20,000 for Language Development Program; $10,000 for Valley Community Association; $1,000 for West Seneca East Elementary Playground; $7,000 for the Junior League Waterfront Pavilion Project; $33,000 for the Legal Aid-Civil Division; $5,000 for the Tonawanda Football Clinic; $20,000, ECIDA's Free Trade Office; $750 for Friends of the Woods, and $2,500 for the West Seneca Patriot Commission.