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New county tax services director named; Lawmakers confirm John E. Shoemaker

The Niagara County Legislature on Tuesday appointed the son of a former county attorney the county's new director of real property tax services.

The Legislature confirmed County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz' nomination of John E. Shoemaker, who has been Town of Lockport assessor since 2008, for the $64,753-a-year post.

Shoemaker's pay is to be raised to $68,028 in 2013, the resolution said.

"I'm very excited about the job, and I'm ready to go," said Shoemaker, the son of one-time County Attorney Edwin J. Shoemaker. He succeeds William F. Budde Jr., who retired Feb. 25.

Glatz said there was a "small pool" of candidates because of stringent qualifications for the post, set by the state.

In other matters, the Legislature extended its redistricting commission's deadline to produce a new map of Legislature districts.

The five-member panel had been scheduled to deliver a new 15-district map by March 8, but it was unable to do so because the U.S. Census Bureau has not yet released the block-by-block population figures. Without them, the commission can't decide where to place the district boundaries.

Legislature Chairman William L. Ross said the detailed New York State numbers are expected to be released March 25.

The extension gives the commission two weeks after the census figures are released to deliver the map, which will implement the downsizing of the 19-member Legislature that voters approved in 2009.

The commission must hold two public hearings on its map before the Legislature may act on it.

The Legislature is to accept or reject the map without amendments by April 19, the resolution says.

Also Tuesday, Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso announced that Legislator Richard A. Marasco, D-Niagara Falls, has had a health "setback" and will be confined to his home for the next several weeks. He declined to elaborate.

Marasco, who underwent surgery for a brain tumor shortly before he was elected in 2009, will have all Legislature material mailed to him, Ross said. Virtuoso said Marasco's 1st District constituents who have an issue can call Marasco at home.

The lawmakers passed a resolution urging defeat of a bill in the State Senate that would impose an initial registration fee of $15, plus an annual $10 renewal fee, to register every firearm in the state.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Eric Adams, D-Brooklyn. Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane, called the bill "another end run at our Second Amendment rights coming out of New York City."

Sheriff James R. Voutour said, "I don't see where this bill is going to decrease the number of illegal firearms."

County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow said implementing gun registration would cost the county at least $60,000 to start.

The Legislature awarded a two-year, $580,000 no-bid professional services contract to L.R. Kimball Associates of Pittsburgh to serve as project manager for the upcoming reconstruction of the county's emergency radio system.

It also rolled $1 million in unspent federal homeland security aid into this year's budget. Acting Emergency Management Director John Cecula said most of it will be spent for equipment connected with the new radio system, including portable and mobile units for fire companies.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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