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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Meeting moved to Tuesday to speed sales tax vote

The Erie County Legislature will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday, rather than Thursday, so it can speed its second procedural vote to renew a penny on the sales tax for this year.

Once the vote is taken, the State Legislature can instruct the state Department of Taxation and Finance to continue levying the "temporary" sales tax penny after March 1.

The renewal will extend through 2007 because, for the first time, county lawmakers have agreed to share $12.5 million in sales tax proceeds with cities, towns and villages next year.

Also Tuesday, lawmakers are to set a standard wage to pay about 500 elections inspectors who will work during an election Feb. 28 to decide the State Senate seat vacated by Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown.

Legislators also are likely to agree to hold a series of midyear budget hearings in which they will ask department heads to describe their finances after the first six months of 2006. The hearings are to provide an early warning of whether Erie County faces a deficit this year and to brace for 2007.

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Scholarship available for Maritime College

Assemblyman Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, is looking for someone from the 146th Assembly District to receive a four-year scholarship to the Maritime College of the State University of New York.

The scholarship covers the cost of tuition.

To be eligible, students must have a combined SAT score of 1,200 and a high school academic score of 90 percent and show leadership and community service experience.

The college offers degrees in engineering, business and science and also prepares students to pursue an officer's license in the U.S. Merchant Marines.

Completed applications must be submitted to the college in Throgs Neck by March 15.

For more information and application forms, contact Quinn's office at 826-1878 or the college at (718) 409-7221.

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Town treading softly on garbage enforcement

In a few months, Cheektowaga will begin enforcing a new rule requiring garbage to be placed in galvanized metal or heavy plastic containers.

The provision, enacted last year by the Town Board, officially took effect Jan. 1. The town is sending notices this month to all homeowners about the change. The mailing also includes information on recycling and other regulations.

"We probably will wait a good 60 days before we start strict enforcement," Council Member Alice Magierski said.

The containers must be covered with lids while holding garbage. But, because some residents said they have had problems with lids blowing away on windy days, the containers do not need to be covered while at the curb awaiting pickup.

The new requirements were enacted to reduce food sources for rodents.

"We have not curtailed the rodents. They are still spreading through parts of the town," Magierski said.

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