Sandra Tan - The Buffalo News

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Sandra Tan

Cityside reporter primarily covering Erie County government. Previously covered Buffalo Public Schools and other community and issue-oriented beats.


Erie County

After several years of contentious bargaining, Erie County has settled a contract with the its blue-collar union, offering 2 percent raises each year for the next four years to the 1,500 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1095. "This wasn't an easy go for both of us," said AFSCME President Richard Canazzi. "It was a tug of …

Erie County

The Erie County Legislature on Thursday unanimously approved a 2018 budget that cuts the tax rate slightly. The county tax rate will fall by 1 cent.  But the actual tax levy – the total amount of property taxes collected by the county – will grow by 5.35 percent, the highest percentage increase in at least a decade. The $1.48 billion budget put forward by County…

Erie County

If Broome County won't make immediate use of the money the state wants to provide for an Opioid Treatment Center, Erie County will. The state offered $2.7 million to Broome County to help set up a drug crisis treatment center, which would offer inpatient treatment to those struggling with withdrawal, but the Broome County Legislature is delaying action on the offer unti…

Erie County

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz's $1.48 billion budget is expected to sail through the County Legislature with an assortment of amendments and changes from legislators – most notably, an additional $250,000 for Erie Community College. That increase will become part of the county's permanent minimum contribution to the college in the future. Both Legislature…

Erie County

Between 13,000 and 15,000 Erie County residents walk through the first floor of the county's Rath Building each month in need of Social Services assistance. More than a year ago, that "customer service" space featured vandalized restrooms, litter-laden floors and counters, old institutional partitions, and a cattle-call system of service that administrators said made both…

Fillmore Avenue is meant to be the gateway corridor into Martin Luther King Park on Buffalo's East Side. But creating that welcoming environment requires money – money to improve the tired-looking business district that flanks Fillmore Avenue between East Ferry and Northampton streets on the north side of the park. To that end, more than a year ago the state allocated…

Erie County

More people in Erie County are dying outside of hospitals and nursing homes. Instead, they are dying at home or at job sites, in rivers, fields, cars, restaurants and jails. And that has overwhelmed the doctors responsible for determining their causes of death. The backlog at the Medical Examiner's Office has grown so big – more than 300 cases were open at one point …

Crime

A Pendleton woman was charged with aggravated drunken driving Saturday after state troopers pulled her car out of a ditch on Campbell Boulevard. Troopers arrested Dawn M. Rubeck, 45, of Pendleton, after a finding her vehicle in a ditch while on routine patrol, according to Troop A Commander Edward J. Kennedy. Rubeck told State Police she drove into the ditch to avoid a …

Erie County

To find the face of overdose drug deaths in Erie County, head to the suburbs and look for white millennials. White men between the ages of 20 and 40 comprise the single largest death demographic – by far – of the more than 1,000 residents who have died of opioid-related drug overdoses in the past five years. Moreover, unlike last year, when the greatest percentage o…

Erie County

Erie County lawmakers again heard about the devastating toll of the opioid epidemic as nearly a dozen parents and siblings Tuesday shared their painful stories about their deceased sons and brothers. "Two years ago was normal," Julie Welsted, a mother, said at a public hearing. "I had my whole family." Then in December 2015, she lost her first-born son, Christopher, …

Erie County

Residents served by the Erie County Water Authority will see an 1.9 percent increase in their water bill next year. The authority stated that for an average residential water user -- using 17,000 gallons of water a year -- this will work out to an additional 85 cents on their bill per quarter. But, it's a different story for the authority's more than 3,000 commercial…

Erie County

Erie County administrators showed off shiny, new Volvo snowplows Friday and urged residents to download the county's disaster preparedness app. County Executive Mark Poloncarz reminded residents that three years ago the county faced its worst November snowstorm in modern history, which resulted in stranded motorists and multiple deaths. "Three years ago today, this c…

Erie County

Which of the following statements is true: The Erie County tax rate has either stayed the same or fallen in each of the past 10 years and consistently been under the state tax cap. The county has raised property taxes by 4 to 5 percent each of the past two years, with a tax increase of 5.35 percent expected in 2018. The answer: Both. How can this be? Some …

Erie County

If mid-term Legislature elections are a referendum on his performance as Erie County executive, Mark Poloncarz said, then the Democratic victories Tuesday mean he's doing a good job. "That must say we're doing something right," he said. The Erie County Legislature in January will revert to Democratic control for the first time in four years, and Poloncarz already ha…

Erie County

Democrats will retake control of the Erie County Legislature in January after four years in the minority. The Republican-supported majority, which managed to keep a slim, one-vote lead since 2014, lost a key seat Tuesday night. That race made all the difference, as Democrats now will have a one-seat majority. Incumbent Republican Ted Morton lost his seat in the 8th D…