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LEGISLATURE TO CONSIDER ADDED PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

A two-month experiment with an extra chance for public participation in County Legislature meetings will be considered during Tuesday's 8 p.m. session.

If a resolution sponsored by Legislator Samuel P. Granieri, R-Niagara Falls, is approved, a half-hour forum enabling audience members to ask department heads questions about agenda items will be instituted at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16.

The resolution, modified Jan. 21 by the Administration Committee, limits the procedure to the next four Legislature meetings. After the first meeting in April, the lawmakers will consider whether to continue or scrap the extra forum.

Speakers will be able to sign up for the forum, starting at 6:30. Each speaker will be limited to five minutes. Department heads with items on the Legislature agenda that night, or their designees, will be required to attend. The Legislature chairman or another legislator chosen by him will preside.

"I guess it's something we could try," said Chairman Gerald E. Meal, R- Royalton.

The current 15-minute comment period during the main meeting will remain intact. Also Tuesday, a three-year, $12,600 contract with the accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick is on the agenda. Budget Director Sharon Sacco said the company will calculate the indirect costs of federally funded programs in such departments as Social Services, health, Mental Health, and Employment and Training.

The effort brings in about $500,000 in extra federal cash each year, Mrs. Sacco said. "It's getting the federal government to pay for the costs of administering federally funded programs," she said.

Also on Tuesday's agenda:

- Meal is to deliver his second annual State of the County address.

- A new promissory note pledging the county to pay $2 million rather than $4 million as its share of the cleanup of the former Wheatfield landfill under the federal Superfund law.

- Authorization to seek bids for the reconstruction this year of Lower Mountain Road and Niagara Street Extension in the Town of Lockport, from the Cambria border to Sunset Drive. Public Works Commissioner Dorson R. Wilson said the job is estimated to cost $1.1 million.

He said part of Lower Mountain Road in Cambria might be reconstructed before the end of the year, but that job may be left until 2000.

- A proposal by Granieri to allow all former prisoners of war who live in Niagara County to play golf at the county course in Lockport for $1. The normal resident rates are $10 on weekdays, $12 on weekends and $7 for senior citizens.

- Payment of a total of $1,263,391 to 31 outside agencies, primarily cultural, in line with the allocations passed in the 1999 budget.

- Allocation of $10,000 for promotion of what is now called the Niagara Festivals, formerly the Niagara Pirates' Festival, set for Olcott July 16-18. It will include a 200-team volleyball tournament, a classic car show, an antique show, and other attractions.

- A $20,000 air duct cleaning of the Social Services offices in Lockport's Switzer Building on Davison Road. Wilson said there have been no illnesses, but complaints about the air quality have been heard.

- The county's quarterly $110,700 dues payment to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

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