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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Resolution blames state for imposition of mandates

BATAVIA -- If the state wants to put a cap on real property taxes it better put a cap on unfunded mandates, City Council members said this week.

A council resolution blames New York's lead in property taxes as due to "leading the nation in imposing inefficient state mandates on local governments."

One case cited is the cost of pensions. Bills from the State Retirement System for the city have increased $529,000 or 50 percent since 2009, and "are expected to continue to increase in the near future."

The city complains a "property tax cap without the repeal of costly state mandates will lead to drastic cuts in local services and dramatic layoffs of municipal employees."

The resolution calls for the state to "reform the cost drivers that lead to high property taxes, including pension benefits, health insurance costs and the collective bargaining process as the central element of any effort to provide overdue property tax relief."

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Steiner to be honored for role in birth and growth of GCC

BATAVIA -- Stuart Steiner, a key figure in the birth and growth of Genesee Community College, will be honored at a dinner April 2 in the Forum on the Batavia campus.

Steiner is retiring Aug. 31 after serving as president since 1975. He has been a member of the GCC staff since it was founded in the mid-1960s.

The evening's events will begin at 5 p.m. with student activities in the theater named for Steiner, the new Art Gallery named for his late wife, Rosalie (Roz) and the Humphrey Student Center.

A program saluting Steiner and his role in the expansion of the college's academic achievements, physical facilities and community involvement will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner.

Steiner, 73, was GCC's third president. He is believed to be the second longest serving community college president in the nation.

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Horse-related issues on legislative agenda

New York State's farmers are putting horse-related issues on the front burner of their agenda for 2011, a New York Farm Bureau representative said this week.

The Farm Bureau wants the sales tax lifted on commercial horse boarding and the services of the state's farriers, or horseshoes and hoof-care specialists, said Hans Mobius, a Clarence farmer and chairman of the Equine Committee of the state Farm Bureau.

In addition, the bureau champions a law that would limit liability for farmers who provide horses and farm property to others for leisure pursuits, Mobius added.

"New York Farm Bureau is urging everyone in the equine community to contact their legislators and ask them to advance these bills and support the significant contribution equines provide the state agricultural economy," Mobius said.

There are more than 197,000 horses, mules, donkeys and burros currently living in the state, at more than 35,000 different locations, the Farm Bureau numbers show.

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