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Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan primarily covers stories related to Erie County government. A Buffalo News staff reporter since 2000, she previously covered Buffalo Public Schools, Amherst and other communities. She is particularly interested in shedding light on issues and people that tell us something important about how we live. email: stan@buffnews.com


Erie County

In a 6-5 vote mostly along party lines Thursday, the Erie County Legislature called on Chairman Peter Savage to fire Erie County Water Authority Chairman Jerome Schad. Schad, a Democrat, is the last remaining commissioner who served on the three-member authority board when the state released a scathing report outlining numerous ECWA governance and transparency failures.…

Erie County

It used to be that if seniors wanted to take advantage of free or low-cost meals subsidized by Erie County, they had to eat at their local senior center or community center. No longer. Roughly half a dozen restaurants and restaurant incubators such as the West Side Bazaar will serve the meals thanks to a two-year, $250,000 grant. The idea is to encourage more seniors…

Erie County

An internal audit on how the Erie County Water Authority dealt with public information requests found the agency improperly handled 42 percent of those it received in 2016. Last year,  the authority mishandled 18 percent of the Freedom of Information Law requests. "I think the findings confirm the suspicion that the oversight of simple fundamentals was bad," said aut…

Environment

New electric car charging stations have been installed in Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park and will soon be coming to Como Lake Park in Lancaster. The new stations were installed as part of a larger state effort to grow the number of electric vehicles and vehicle charging stations. “We are thrilled to have this station here at Chestnut Ridge Park, our largest park…

Erie County

The Erie County Water Authority is considering raising water rates by 2 percent next year for all customers and raising infrastructure charges on major commercial and industrial businesses by 50 percent. Budget work sessions, which will allow public comment, will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. Thursday. Under the preliminary $77.6 million operating budget, res…

Bills

Key players involved with the Bills stadium lease agreement have begun diverting some money ordinarily spent on New Era Field renovation and maintenance projects with a possible eye toward future stadium planning after the current lease between the county, state and Bills owners expires in July 2023. Of the public money contributed toward the Bills stadium lease this ye…

Erie County

Rising sales tax revenue helped boost Erie County budget for this year and is expected to help offset costs in next year's proposed 2019 budget. But the credit doesn't go to Canadians crossing the border to shop. Both Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw and County Executive Mark Poloncarz agree that based on Canadian bridge traffic numbers, our neighbors to the north aren't th…

Erie County

Here are eight takeaways from Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz's $1.53 billion budget proposal for 2019: Cybersecurity: $2.5 million to secure 911 emergency services, county networks and Central Police Services systems. Public art: $350,000 for the proposed African-American veterans monument at Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park and monuments fo…

Erie County

The proposed 2019 Erie County budget calls for the steepest drop in the county property tax rate in more than a decade. Rising property values and higher-than-projected sales tax collections mean more revenue and loosened purse strings to support everything from public health initiatives to public art. "I think it's an example of the strength of the local economy," C…

Erie County

An independent Erie County citizens panel has unanimously recommended raises for the county executive, sheriff and comptroller. But in a nod to defeated recommendations of the past, the Citizens Salary Review Commission did not suggest raises for all county officials, nor did it recommend raises as high as what prior panels endorsed. Commission members opted for a mu…

Erie County

Three new federal grants totaling $3.4 million will help Erie County fight its opioid epidemic. "These grants will save lives," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said Tuesday. While the grants are sought by many local governments, Erie County had an edge as it sought the money because county leaders have been ahead of the curve in addressing the crisis, Rep. Br…

Crime

Two women who paid attention to their credit card purchases helped police catch a thief who hacked into pumps at several suburban gas stations and used stolen credit card numbers to rack up thousands of dollars of purchases. The threat to credit card-carrying motorists in the Buffalo Niagara region has been lower compared to parts of the country, said Charles Perras, as…

Erie County

Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke wants the county to employ an ombudsman to advocate for foster parents and foster children trying to navigate the foster care system. The county has a tremendous shortage of foster care families. Last year, the county's Social Services Department had 165 certified foster homes, a tiny number compared to the hundreds of children who n…

Bills

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said the county is not looking to add a new Buffalo Bills stadium to the discussion of where to build a new convention center because the county can't afford it, and Bills owners Kim and Terry Pegula aren't demanding it right now. "I think $1 billion is a low estimate for a new football stadium," he said Monday, adding, "You peopl…

Local News

A Cheektowaga restaurant is responsible for four cases of hepatitis A, county officials announced today, as they highlighted a spike in the number of cases of the viral infection. A cook employed at Doino's Pizzeria Bar & Grille at 2709 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga, tested positive for hepatitis A but did not initially tell the county Department of Health about his empl…