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As part of its budget debate Wednesday night, the Chautauqua County Legislature took steps to correct what Finance Director Robert Beckman admitted was a past error in posting interest earnings toward the tax-stabilization fund.

Beckman and County Executive Andrew Goodell are facing a lawsuit over what could amount to $1.4 million in misplaced interest earnings on that fund. Beckman said the interest has been compounded, but was not posted properly.

"The interest is being accumulated month by month, and at the end of the year it will be rolled into the tax-stabilization fund," Beckman said.

Legislator Joseph Trusso, D-Jamestown, called the move "a smoke-screen."

"It didn't accumulate interest earlier, and now we're only going to put in $462,500. We're talking about a $6 million fund. We could have had more money in there, because if the interest had been there we would have received interest on that interest."

Beckman said the amendment, transferring the accumulated interest, was necessary to make the account right for 1998.

State Supreme Court Justice Eugene Piggott Jr. on Monday reserved decision in the case, pending a review of the county's budget provisions.

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