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HEARING ON $79.12 MILLION BUDGET IS NOV. 15

A public hearing on the Allegany County budget will be held Nov. 15, the Legislature decided Monday.

The tentative budget to be reviewed that day calls for total appropriations of $79.12 million, up from the $74.3 million budget in place this year. The tentative budget calls for $14.14 million to be raised by real estate taxes; the current budget's tax levy is $13.82 million.

The hearing will be at 7 p.m. in the Legislature's chambers in Belmont.

In another matter Monday, legislators decided to continue to participate in the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, approving two resolutions authorizing the affiliation.

Majority Leader Rodney Bennett, R-Dalton, told members that Erie County has recently joined the Southern Tier anti-drug coalition, which will facilitate investigations involving traffic from the Buffalo area south and grant jurisdiction to task force offices in a wider area of the region.

Legislator Edmund C. Burdick, R-Black Creek, asked lawmakers to reconsider their commitment to build a new county jail in view of the possibility of reduced aid for other projects.

Burdick predicted that Consolidated Highway Improvement Project money will dry up, forcing the county to build roads without the assistance of state funds.

Bennett said Sheriff Randal Belmont was going to Albany Monday to ask the Corrections Commission to reissue variances under which he is allowed to increase the number of inmates in the current jail.

The state had allowed variances over the past 10 years on condition the county begin building a jail with a capacity to meet its needs. Those variances were canceled early this year when state officials perceived a lack of action toward a new jail, despite years of assurances from the county.

Now, with a resolution of commitment on the record, Bennett said the sheriff is hopeful variances will be reissued.

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