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>Regulations outlined on political signs

Campaign signs planted in a state right of way must be removed within three days after Election Day, the state Department of Transportation says.

Signs are prohibited along controlled-access roads or expressways, as well as branches of the Thruway.

Where they are permitted, signs shouldn't present operational problems for maintenance workers, shouldn't cause sight-distance problems or interfere with safe traffic movement, nor be placed in medians or traffic islands, where they would be a distraction.

Temporary signs placed in any of the restricted areas or those causing problems will be removed by the DOT.


>Display of voting machine for disabled planned

The Erie County Board of Elections and the county Office for the Disabled have scheduled demonstrations of a machine that is designed to provide accessibility to disabled voters.

Demonstrations of the Automark balloting machine are scheduled to held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Friday at the Board of Elections, 134 W. Eagle St.

The device is equipped with a touch screen monitor, Braille keypad, headphone jack and Ada port. The machines will be available Tuesday for the general election, and the Automark polling location will be in the Waterfront School, 95 Fourth St.

Voters in need of transportation on Election Day may contact the Board of Elections at 858-4945.


>Poloncarz says income from sales tax fuels surplus

Sales tax income is sending Erie County government toward a multimillion-dollar year-end surplus, Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz said Wednesday in analyzing the first nine months of the year.

Sales tax income has grown by 5.15 percent over 2006, said Poloncarz, who analyzes the budget independently from the county executive's staff.

County Executive Joel A. Giambra's budget officials also have said sales tax income has shown healthy growth. The growth is attributed largely to the strong Canadian dollar propelling Canadians to shop in Western New York to avoid their higher taxes.

Poloncarz said there are still issues that could derail a year-end surplus, and they must be sorted out with the state-appointed control board.


>Schumer urges release of additional HEAP funds

WASHINGTON -- To help households meet the rising cost of fuel, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday urged President Bush to immediately release $150 million nationally in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program money.

Schumer said his data shows that home heating costs in New York State could rise between 7 percent and 20 percent, depending on the region and the type of fuel used. The added costs for oil heat could be as much as $300 a year, while the cost for natural gas heat could rise by $200.

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