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Cattaraugus County legislators Thursday approved hiring five new sheriff's deputies as resource officers in county schools. The posts will be funded through a $456,000 U.S. Justice Department COPS grant.

Earlier this month, legislators expressed concern that the schools would not complete an agreement to pick up the costs during the fourth year of a contract. So they decided to bill the districts now, spreading the cost over the next four years.

Initially the Pioneer, Franklinville, Allegany-Limestone, Ellicottville, Randolph, Portville and Little Valley-Cattaraugus school districts expressed interest in the program.

However, Sheriff Ernest J. Dustman said Ellicottville is no longer interested, and Portville is wavering.

In other business, the Legislature:

Approved a $5,600 pay raise for Dustman, bringing his salary from $54,400 to $60,000 this year. An additional raise was included, adjusting the salary to $62,000 next year.

Learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded a contract to Olean General Hospital for a veterans outpatient clinic. It will be located in the former St. Francis Hospital in Olean until the building is sold, and then the clinic will be relocated to Olean General Hospital.

In 1994 the county started a service using a van to transport veterans to clinics in Buffalo and Bath. The one-year contract for the new clinic begins in April.

Named to the Records Management Advisory Board through Dec. 31, 2003: Jack Ellis of Little Valley, County Clerk James K. Griffith of Salamanca, Deputy Administrator John R. Searles of Olean and County Attorney Dennis V. Tobolski of Great Valley.

Approved a resolution supporting an application from the Salamanca Housing Authority to build a new senior housing unit through the state Housing and Community Renewal Agency.

Authority Director Ron Yehl said the site is on River Street in Salamanca adjacent to another senior housing project. The two-story building will have 10 one-bedroom apartments, an elevator and recreation room.

Approved a $28,315 contract for engineering services with Pratt & Huth Associates of Williamsville for a road improvement and drainage project on Broadway Road near Gowanda. The Legislature also approved transferring $80,000 in Public Works Department accounts to cover the costs.

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