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As an overburdened Erie County taxpayer, I must admit that tax relief in general is welcome. But it is very much unwelcome when it leads to cuts in our essential services. I am speaking specifically about Joel Giambra's plan to cut 30 Erie County sheriff's deputies from the Road Patrol Division. It is even more troubling that, at the same time, the county is planning to install a new irrigation system at Grover Cleveland Golf Course, estimated to cost $750,000.

I am troubled by the fact that while we are bombarded by media messages and political advertising telling us that we are under a constant threat of terrorism, our county government is seriously considering cutting "first responders." These officers provide, in many towns, the only police services for county taxpayers. In other towns, they often respond to assist other police agencies, including the City of Buffalo.

One has to wonder what Giambra and the County Legislature must be thinking. I'm not exactly sure what causes elected officials to play budgetary politics, while compromising the safety and security of the county. It is as potentially harmful as it is shameful.

I implore all citizens to contact their legislators and let them know that cuts to our vital first responders will not be tolerated.

William S. Maloney

West Seneca