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A panel discussing regionalization agreed Tuesday that the idea of communities sharing costs and potential gains will require much more study and the full cooperation of all the municipalities involved.

Some two dozen Amherst Chamber of Commerce officials and community leaders met at the University at Buffalo Center for Tomorrow at an "Understanding Regionalism Forum."

The forum focused on providing effective and efficient delivery of services to communities at reduced taxes.

"Everyone is talking about regionalism, and a number of groups have been formed to study it, market and or fund it," said Colleen C. DiPirro, president of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, event sponsor.

One of the groups studying regionalization is the Greater Buffalo Partnership.

"The truth is that we will have to make changes as a region if we hope to become competitive in a global market," Andrew J. Rudnick, president of the Partnership, said.

He noted that in 29 indicators of competition with 16 other peer communities across the country, Western New York is on the "low end" of the competitive scale.

Part of that problem, he said, is taxes.

"We will have to create a climate upon which we can build one success over another, and on and on," he said.

Also speaking at the event were John Sheffer, director of the Institute for Local Government and Regional Growth; Kate Foster, assistant professor of urban planning at UB and State Sen. Mary Lou Rath.

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