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A county plan to demolish 71 properties to make room for new housing along Buffalo's border with suburban municipalities moved a step closer to reality Wednesday.

The County Legislature earlier this month approved $600,000 for demolitions in declining city neighborhoods near the borders of Cheektowaga, Sloan and West Seneca.

Only county officials showed up Wednesday for a public hearing, so the legislation now goes to County Executive Gorski for his consideration.

"The demolition of these properties helps to prevent further decline of the neighborhoods by removing havens for criminal activity," says a bill sponsored by ten legislators.

"Once these properties have been demolished, there is land available for new housing to be constructed, thereby providing an up-to-date, market-rate alternative" to suburban sprawl, it said.

The hearing also covered a $150,000 appropriation for the City of Tonawanda, most of which would be used to study the possible consolidation of the city's water services with other governments. In addition, $30,000 would be used to continue the county's sport fishing promotion program.

Gorski, who was not available to comment, could either sign or veto the spending items.

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