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COUNCIL SENDS REFORM MESSAGE TO ALBANY

The City Council sent a message to Albany on Monday: Shape up.

Acting on a recommendation from the Genesee Area Chamber of Commerce, the Council voted to support a resolution to overhaul the state's budget process.

The lawmakers cited the Brennan Institute's labeling the state's legislative process as "the most dysfunctional in the nation" and noted that the state budget had not been approved on time for 20 consecutive years.

The Council's 10-point recommendation on reform cited several shortcomings ranging from the lack of public hearings to a new rule that legislative members must be physically present when votes are taken.

The Council hopes that the reform resolution will be heeded by the two Assembly members who represent the county, Assembly Minority Leader Charles H. Nesbitt, R-Albion, and Daniel J. Burling, R-Castile. Genesee is also in the district of Sen. Mary Lou Rath, R-Williamsville.

Rose Mary Christian, the 6th Ward representative, cast the sole no vote. She said the recommendations were not strong enough.

In other business, the Council heard a report from Edward M. Flynn, the city's community development director. He said a recent microenterprise program had given $200,000 in loans and grants to a dozen small businesses in downtown Batavia and others in the Ellicott Square district, calling it a "turn-around" for retailers in both the troubled areas.

The Council also enacted a stricter ordinance on dog owners, aimed especially at dangerous or vicious animals. The law had been softened since it was first presented in early August and drew a large response from dog owners later that month.

Council members agreed that the tighter code is aimed specifically at irresponsible pet owners, some of whom allow their dogs to menace neighbors and passers-by.

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