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Gowanda village officials agreed Tuesday to consider expanded staffing in village departments after their decision not to use prisoners from the Gowanda and Collins Correctional facilities.

A lawsuit filed by a prisoner for injuries sustained while working at a village job site caused officials to rethink utilizing the free labor in the highway, water and sewer departments.

"I don't think I want them anymore. We have enough lawsuits without prisoners suing us," said Mayor Donald Lazar.

Prisoners may be used for "selective situations," said officials.

Without inmates at the sewer treatment plant, Trustee Edward Kota proposed hiring one full-time worker to complete a service contract with the village of Perrysburg. The sewer department, a self-sustaining unit of the village, can afford to pay a new employee with funds raised through the Perrysburg contract, said Kota.

Lazar, however, proposed the issue be postponed until the first meeting in September at which time officials will consider hiring an employee who can be shared with the highway department.

In other business the board:

Set Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. for a public hearing on the proposed tenure agreement with U.S. Cable.

Approved a three-year contract for three supervisory employees that includes pay raises of 3.1 percent in 1997, retroactive to June 1, 3.3 percent in 1998, and 3.5 percent in 1999.

Assured Walnut Street residents their complaints of young people disturbing the area with loud noise, profane language and endangering behavior will be forwarded to the police department.

Expressed dissatisfaction with the fire department's proposal to hold a controlled burn at a Palmer Street building but will withhold a decision until a permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation is received. Earlier this spring the board passed an ordinance prohibiting open burning anywhere in the village.

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