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BID TO UNIFY OPERATIONS ADVANCES COUNTY WOULD FREE $1 MILLION FOR CITY

The County Legislature pushed ahead Thursday on giving the City of Buffalo $1 million through efforts to consolidate services.

The measures were sent to a committee headed by Legislator Albert De Benedetti, D-Buffalo, who hopes to hold a joint meeting of city and county officials, including County Executive Gorski and Mayor Masiello, on how the county can aid the city.

"This is about how we do what the taxpayers want us to do," said Legislator Crystal D. Peoples, D-Buffalo.

De Benedetti said he expects solid moves next month that might free up the $1 million, budgeted by the county but not yet transferred to the city, for the city budget that will be announced in May.

The 10 items include several involving a centralized county bureau of vital statistics.

That was originally assigned to the Government Affairs Committee, headed by Legislator Raymond K. Dusza, D-Cheektowaga, who opposes displacing town and village clerks.

At a hearing earlier this year, Buffalo's city clerk also expressed reservation, saying vital statistics produce income for the city.

Thursday, Legislator Brian D. Rusk, R-Amherst, said consolidating vital statistics under the county simply would create a larger bureaucracy.

In another matter, the Legislature approved allowing the county Department of Environment and Planning to accept a $120,000 federal grant to supervise collection of 17 tons on now-illegal pesticides from Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Niagara counties.

Richard Tobe, commissioner of environment and planning, said Erie County was selected to conduct the project, known as Clean Sweep, because of its own successful collections.

Farmers will deliver no-longer- usable pesticides at specified times to collection centers in Fredonia and Lockport, Tobe said.

"About 14 percent of the farmers going to the Fredonia site will be from Erie County," he noted.

He said the pesticides will be stored in barrels and shipped to out-of-state disposal sites designated to receive specific chemicals.

In another move, the Legislature approved the sale of three lots in Angola by one county entity to another for development by the Environment and Planning Department. The sales, at $100 each, free the Lenox Street land for low-income housing.

The county will accept bids from private contractors to construct three three-bedroom homes, expected to sell for $80,000 to $90,000. Buyers, to be selected by lottery, will be eligible for subsidies of up to $20,000 each, depending on income, Tobe said.

The Legislature balked when asked to approve a $200,000 increase in parking lot improvements at Rich Stadium. The matter was sent to the Economic Development Committee.

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