Share this article

print logo

Matthew Spina

I'm a staff writer at The Buffalo News and a graduate of SUNY Buffalo State who grew up in the great town of Schenectady, N.Y.


An Erie County legislator, tired of requesting financial information from the Giambra administration, filed suit in State Supreme Court on Thursday to force the county executive to provide timely budget records."I have tried, again and again, through resolutions, letters and personal conversations, to convince these county leaders . . . to fulfill their duty," said Albert …

Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra told cultural and charitable groups Thursday they might not receive their customary millions of dollars in county aid next year.In continuing to warn of financial doom for 2005, Giambra indicated that $11 million is at risk for orchestras, museums, youth groups, community centers and efforts to bring business to Western New York."The c…

Erie County has registered more than 10,000 new voters since April 1, reflecting a trend across New York and in battleground states such as Florida, Ohio and Minnesota.Officials in Erie County and in Albany say they are flooded with forms to process, even though strategists see New York as squarely in Democrat John F. Kerry's corner in the presidential election and not up …

Only one entity -- the State Legislature -- should be blamed for Erie County's budget problems, County Executive Joel A. Giambra said Wednesday in trying to rouse public ire against Albany and win a sales tax increase."We are working very hard for some epiphany to occur," he said, "where the state legislators begin to take responsibility for the problem they created."Giamb…

Once assigned a 24-hour car, Erie County officials are not required to say how the vehicles are used or provide a log of their destinations, the county's fleet management director said Tuesday.Robert Bartholomew said those assigned take-home vehicles -- 37 of them, according to one incomplete list -- are to use them for work-related travels, but the county has no way to de…

There might be less fuel for county cars. And the Probation Department might hire an outside agency to collect fees charged to convicted drunken drivers.Fees at county-owned golf courses and county-run campsites will probably go up. And the Parks Department might start selling wholesale firewood gleaned from 3,800 wooded acres in Sardinia, Colden and Holland.Belts tightene…

County Executive Joel A. Giambra says he must consider the painful mix of a property tax increase and deep cuts in services -- layoffs included -- now that state lawmakers slammed the door on his request for a new sales tax penny in 2005.Erie County's four-year run without a tax increase -- the only county in the nation's highest-taxed state to pull it off -- will end with…

Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra is seeking a sales tax increase while insisting he can't share the $125 million it would raise each year with schools and local governments, including the City of Buffalo.He met this week with Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz, D-Cheektowaga, and State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew, urging them to win the state permission needed t…

A deputy district attorney reminded Erie County lawmakers Tuesday that the willful failure of certain people to address gross violations let the scandal at the Aurora Highway Garage snowball."The grand jury found it was people causing the problems, not computers," prosecutor Mark Sacha told the Government Affairs Committee, as it heard about policy changes and computer upg…

Advertising has found a home on buses, barns and blimps -- so how about the vast canvas of a water tower, especially the two seen daily by thousands of commuters north of Buffalo?If the murals of commerce can bring in as much as the Erie County Water Authority has heard -- up to $30,000 a month -- residents might see pitches from car dealers or soft drink makers, or maybe …

The red truck has four doors, a siren and flashing lights -- should the senior aide to Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra ever need to get somewhere in a hurry.The Ford Explorer is assigned to Victor Getz for work and for home, meaning he can use it for grocery shopping or trips to the hardware store. It should not be confused with the Chevrolet Suburban that Getz drive…

Copiers should groan to life again inside Erie County government's largest bureaucracy, the Department of Social Services, after lawmakers Thursday restored money for paper, toner cartridges, pens and other office supplies.To avoid a year-end deficit, County Executive Joel A. Giambra last spring requested that some money for office supplies and equipment in a smattering of…

Grim note to taxpayers: Legislatures in New York are often staffed not just for the business of government but the business of politicking, and it's no crime when aides blur the two while collecting their government paychecks.This reminder comes courtesy of Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark, who, in response to complaints that County Legislature aides served the…

Standing near a road crumpled by flooding, Republicans in the Erie County Legislature turned on the heat Tuesday to obtain money for suburban road repairs.A request to borrow $4 million for road improvements has been stalled in the Legislature's Finance and Management Committee. Democrats control the Legislature, 8-7, and last week turned aside Republican efforts to get th…

Help Wanted: Study group bent on secrecy seeks publicity expert for campaign to dismantle a city government in the Northeast, once cone of silence lifts.The Greater Buffalo Working Committee, which would like Erie County voters to approve a new "Regional City of Buffalo" government in November 2005, wants to hire a public relations pro for help in "executing a strategy."Th…