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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Lawmakers to vote on 2% pay raises

LOCKPORT -- The Niagara County Legislature may vote next week to grant 2 percent pay raises to 163 nonunion employees, ranging from department heads to prosecutors to part-time clerks.

The Legislature's Administration Committee unanimously approved the pay plan Tuesday. Committee Chairman Gerald K. Farnham, R-Lockport, said the raises might be revised upward if the county's unions receive more than 2 percent. However, at the moment negotiations on new union contracts are far from complete.

Budget Director Daniel R. Huntington said the money for the nonunion raises will be taken from an $851,882 fund in this year's budget that was set aside for pay raises for all employees, union and nonunion.

He said the fund will be partially replenished later by moving budget allocations for currently vacant positions into it.

Nonunion workers last received raises in 2003, but there will be no retroactive increases. There also was a list of 99 nonunion employees who won't receive raises. That list includes all elected officials, County Manager Gregory D. Lewis and a few department heads whose pay must be changed by separate laws.

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>Committee approves borrowing for projects

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara County Legislature committee Tuesday approved $8.35 million in borrowing to pay for road and bridge repair projects, park drainage work, equipment and vehicle purchases and building repairs this year. The full Legislature will vote next week.

The list of projects was approved by the Legislature earlier this year, but one will be omitted from the bond issue. County Treasurer David S. Broderick said the estimated $2.5 million cost of cleaning up the county-owned former Flintkote site on Mill Street in Lockport was not included because the county may not have to pay anything for it.

Broderick said if the state Superfund covers the cost, the county will be off the hook. If the project is funded through the state brownfields program, the county would have to pay 10 percent of the tab, or about $250,000.

"We can always do a short-term borrowing if it's brownfields," he said.

The maturity of the bonds will range from five to 30 years, depending on the projects covered.

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