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Cost of election for Massa seat seen as up to $90,000 in Cattaraugus

A special election to fill a vacancy in the 29th Congressional District would cost Cattaraugus County taxpayers up to $90,000, election commissioners told the Legislature on Wednesday. Although no date has been set by Gov. David A. Paterson to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Rep. Eric J.J. Massa, D-Corning, political leaders anticipate a date in the near future.

The 29th Congressional District runs from Cattaraugus County to Elmira along the Southern Tier and north along the Finger Lakes outside of Rochester.

While most Republican chairmen in the district have agreed on former Corning Mayor Tom Reed, Democrats have yet to name a candidate.

In business this week before the Cattaraugus County Legislature, a series of resolutions set in motion the process for the special election, a Sept. 14 primary and the general election Nov. 2.

The contingent account was tapped to provide $93,536 to pay for election voting machine technicians using optical scan voting machines, election inspectors, polling place coordinators and custodians who earn $50 to program each voting machine, plus mileage.

Legislature Vice Chairman Carmen A. Vecchiarella, R-Salamanca, who presided over the Legislature session, said that although the county reported a $21 million surplus earlier this week, it should be reserved for emergencies.

The legislators voted to transfer $2.1 million of that surplus for bridge, road and culvert repairs, most of which were damaged in floods in the Gowanda area last August.

Work will target Ashford Culvert 69, Machias Bridge 28, Otto Bridge 14 and two county roads, 46 and 30.

Using Medicaid stimulus aid, the county will repair Yorkshire Bridge 20 for $100,000; County Road 13 for $65,000; and County Road 21 for $35,000.

Legislators voted to distribute $200,000 through a tourism-promotion grant program from $613,000 collected last year in bed taxes.

Awards will go to: Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, $84,590; Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce, $57,675; Salamanca Area Chamber of Commerce, $25,953; Randolph Area Community Development Corp., $24,032; Franklinville Chamber of Commerce, $5,000; and Gowanda Area Chamber of Commerce, $2,750.

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