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The Republican challenger in the race for Erie County clerk Thursday criticized the incumbent for his decision to charge a fee for processing real estate transfer tax payments.

Candidate Poppy Rossano criticized County Clerk David J. Swarts for tacking a $5 processing surcharge onto the new $5 per $1,000 transfer tax, which goes to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

"Maybe state law says it's OK, but common sense and concern for the taxpayer says it's wrong. Mr. Swarts has demonstrated a very callous attitude toward his constituents," Mrs. Rossano said.

She also challenged Swarts' claim that the additional fee is needed to cover the costs his office incurs collecting the money.

Swarts called Mrs. Rossano's criticism "misguided." He said the new real estate transfer tax requires his staff to perform additional work.

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