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Niagara County Legislature committees set postelection agenda

LOCKPORT – Numerous proposals for new county laws and policies brought forward by the Niagara County Legislature’s four Democrats were forwarded to committee last week, meaning that there will be no action on them until after next Tuesday’s elections for all 15 Legislature seats.

Among the items sent to committee by Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield, was a proposed law to ban the sale of personal care products containing microbeads, which the Community Services Committee will discuss Nov. 9.

Erie and Chautauqua counties have passed bans on the products, whose beads are too small to be screened out by sewage-treatment plants and end up in water supplies. The proposed ban, sponsored by the Democrats, calls for a fine of $2,500 a day for violations by any seller. A second-time offender would be fined $5,000 a day.

Also sent to committee was a Democratic proposal to ban anyone from entering the work area at the county Board of Elections unless accompanied by an employee. Politicians of both parties have been known to simply open the gate and head for the offices of the elections commissioners.

Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, complained that during the Sept. 18 recount of the Niagara Falls mayoral primary, Republican insiders Henry F. Wojtaszek and Vincent M. Sandonato were allowed to go anywhere they wanted in the offices. Virtuoso is proposing that readers for swipe cards be installed on all doors leading to office areas. The Administration Committee will talk about it Nov. 9.

The Infrastructure and Facilities Committee was scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the Democratic proposal, also supported by Legislature Vice Chairman Clyde L. Burmaster, R-Ransomville, to ask the state to change the name of the Robert Moses Parkway to the Niagara Scenic Parkway.

Moses proposed the parkway as part of the construction of the Niagara Power Project, and in some quarters, that project is blamed for beginning Niagara Falls’ economic downturn, because it is tax-exempt and most of its electrical output leaves the area. Virtuoso contends that the name doesn’t tell tourists anything about the road or where it goes. Eighty percent of respondents to an online poll done by the Historical Association of Lewiston supported changing the name.