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The Cattaraugus County Legislature voted Wednesday to extend the extra 1 percent sales tax another two years beyond its expiration Dec. 1.

Voting was unanimous and without comment. The tax has been in effect since 1986, making Cattaraugus County one of several in the state that collects 8 percent sales tax on goods and some services.

The tax is segregated into a separate account and used to pay for public works projects, bridges and road improvements. The tax is projected at $6.5 million a year for the next two years.

Legislator D. John Zimbardi, R-Little Valley, the sponsor, estimated each taxpayer would have to pay $125 more a year to meet budget requirements without the extra 1 percent tax.

Legislators have to act quickly to extend the tax, which also needs approval by state lawmakers, who are not currently in session.

The county received a waiver from the state Department of Taxation and Finance to extend the tax past Dec. 1 since state lawmakers may not be back in session again by then to give their approval.

Legislators also:

Approved $7,500 for the Southern Tier West Regional Planning Board. The county's share will go toward a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to develop a process for developments along I-86.

Approved $5,000 as the county's share to study the economic benefits and impacts of I-86 on local economies in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.

The action means all three counties have now approved their shares toward the cost of the study.

Created a new position to add a caseworker for child protection services in the Department of Social Services. The position is needed to cover after-hours calls. The salary will be up to $17.82 an hour. Currently there are nine caseworkers for child protection along with three supervisors who must cover 24-hour shifts all year long. They now carry pagers and must answer calls after completing their regular work days.

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