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Public hearing on budget set for Tuesday

The Cattaraugus County Legislature voted Wednesday to authorize a public hearing at 3 p.m. Tuesday on a $194.9 million budget for 2008.

The budget is expected to be approved at that time but will be given a final run-through at 6 p.m. today by the Finance Committee. No major revisions are expected, and the process appears to be on track after a series of committee review sessions. Departmental requests for 10 additional staff were put aside, and lawmakers suggested that the requests be resubmitted in the next few months.

If the current version of the budget is adopted, it would mean a 6.6 percent increase in the tax levy, and appropriations would rise by 3.61 percent. Finance Committee Chairman Michael T. O'Brien, R-Portville, commended department heads for their work in holding the line on spending, mostly "at or below this year's budget." He said health insurance costs represent one exception, with increases amounting to about $2 million.

The Legislators also accepted two bids from logging contractors to harvest timber from separate tracts of county forest land. Samuel Nissley of Nissley Sawmill of Centerville will pay the county $12,800 to remove 47,000 board feet in a timber stand improvement on Reforestation Property 27 in Farmersville.

The bid was the only offer received on the sale, which is designed to improve hardwoods on the property by removing low-grade firewood trees and a relatively small number of saw timber specimens.

David Swanson of Swanson Logging in Gerry will pay the county $45,481 to remove 115,786 board feet from Reforestation Property 17-20 in South Valley. Swanson's bid was the highest of six received, and the harvest will consist mainly of red oak. Both stands must be harvested within two years and are managed for the county by Forecon Inc.

The Legislators also authorized a contract for live-trapping woodchucks and other pests at the Pines Healthcare and Rehabilitation Centers in Olean and Machias. Michael Hayden, doing business as New Sense Wildlife Management of Bryant Hill in Franklinville, will be paid $99 to set traps and $50 for each animal removed from the two locations.

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