Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the county is doing pretty well: jobs are up and county agencies are showing how well they can help members of the public. However, delivering his annual State of the County address Thursday, he said more needs to be done.
The extent of Buffalo’s childhood lead poisoning epidemic may be worse than documented by government agencies. Many children may not be getting tested for lead in their blood in a city that has been described as “ground zero” for the lead poisoning across upstate New York.
After an extended debate Thursday, Erie County legislators voted to send a proposed ban on people convicted of some crimes from holding elective or appointive offices in county government back to committee.
Hours after announcing it would add a $3.50 fee for ride-hailing services to and from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority announced it had reached agreements with ride-hailing providers Uber and Lyft, including one that reduces the previously-announced fee.
In a day of complicated maneuvering, Erie County legislators killed a plan to refinance the debt of Erie County Medical Center, then sent back to committee a separate plan to borrow $100 million for the hospital using the county's credit rating. It was a day of attacks - some personal - and so much parliamentary maneuvering regarding the entangled finances of Erie County and ECMC even legislators were sometimes lost.
A speedy passage of Erie County's budget for next year temporarily stalled Tuesday over $100,000 to help Visit Buffalo Niagara's efforts to legalize use of ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft, Upstate.
Members of the Erie County Legislature quizzed County Attorney Michael Siragusa Thursday afternoon about public dollars spent on outside legal advice regarding a part-time job pursued by one legislator. The County Attorney insists there was no prodding by the County Executive's office to seek a legal opinion, but Republicans on the Legislature aren't buying it.
Youth sports coaches and managers in Erie County may soon be required to take a brief course on concussion awareness and safety. A proposal is on the table in the Erie County Legislature and, Thursday morning, lawmakers heard testimony from people who have front-line knowledge of concussion safety.
It was a busy day Thursday for the Erie County Legislature as it passed legislation to regulate pawn shops, supported earlier drinking hours on Sunday and asked Albany to require minimum staffing in hospitals and nursing homes.
“Quick and painless” is how legislators described the final approval process for the 2016 Erie County Budget. Residents can expect to see a decrease in taxes for the second year in a row and more funding for the fight against the county’s growing epidemic of drug abuse.