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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS - North Suburban

County asked to use last year's assessments

Amherst Town Board members want the county to use last year's tax assessments -- not the current ones -- in making out county tax bills for 2006.

The reason? Amherst's residential tax base continues to soar in value, causing some town officials to fear Amherst residents will shoulder an unfair share of County Executive Joel A. Giambra's proposed 25 percent tax increase.

That's because other localities do not update assessments as quickly as Amherst does, according to Amherst Council Member William L. Kindel.

By unanimous vote, town lawmakers approved a letter to Giambra drafted by Kindel saying town officials want to avoid "a negative raid on taxpayers' pocketbooks by dipping into the increase in assessed values."

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Eszak named new chief of environment, planning

Andrew M. Eszak has been named Erie County's new commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning.

He has been the deputy planning commissioner under Laurence K. Rubin, who heads the department and is becoming county attorney to succeed Frederick A. Wolf, who is leaving county government.

Eszak also is a former director of development in the City of Lackawanna. His new job pays about $115,000 a year.

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Two firms to get $720,000 for fingerprint analysis

More than $720,000 in federal money will go to two research organizations in Amherst to improve the efficiency and accuracy of fingerprint analysis, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Wednesday.

The Research Foundation of SUNY Amherst will receive $596,478 and Ultra Scan Corp. $126,601.

While giving police information they need to catch criminals, "the money for research will also help police to find missing children, whose fingerprints are likely to change as they grow," Schumer said.

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