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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Supervisors updated on economic growth

WARSAW -- Wyoming County supervisors were updated this week on efforts to spur economic development.

Richard Tindell, county planning and development director, told the Board of Supervisors Planning Committee that his department is pursuing several goals with the help of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce.

The work includes assisting in downtown revitalization programs, reviewing agricultural districts in the county and finishing an agriculture and farmland protection plan.

Tindell reported that under the federal Small Cities program the county granted loans to 13 businesses totaling $422,350 in 1999.

The county was recently approved by the federal government to receive an estimated $390,000 to help McCormick Farms in Bliss expand to create additional jobs.

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New health system chief meets with supervisors

WARSAW -- Ronald J. Krawiec, new chief executive officer of the Wyoming County Community Health System, met with Wyoming County supervisors during his second day on the job Tuesday.

Krawiec, 56, of Hamburg, said he also is meeting with health care system department heads this week to assess the needs of the system, which includes Wyoming County Community Hospital and the Skilled Nursing Facility.

Krawiec was most recently chief executive officer of TLC Health Network, based in Gowanda.

Health system officials said a big challenge for Krawiec will be how the health system will deal with rising Medicaid costs.

Stu Hempel, president of the Wyoming County Community Health System Board of Managers, who met with supervisors along with Krawiec at the Wyoming County Government Center, said they will launch a campaign this spring to raise money for renovations and new equipment.

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Meeting moved up 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 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 mid-year 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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