erie county legislature

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Members of the Erie County Legislature's Minority Caucus are pushing a plan they claim will save millions of dollars. 

County Executive Mark Poloncarz issued a mid-year budget warning Monday, saying the county faces more than $50 million in unanticipated costs.  GOP lawmakers are calling on Poloncarz to borrow and refinance through the county Control Board. 

Legislator Ed Rath says that will save taxpayers nearly $3 million.  

mike desmond/wbfo

Erie County legislators were told on Monday ECC has to have more money to keep it an effective college.

Student tuition now provides around 52 percent of the proposed $111 million budget, which includes a $300 annual tuition increase. The county's share holds steady just over $17 million and 44 vacant positions are being abolished.

College President Jack Quinn says cuts in state aid and frozen county dollars made the fiscal situation worse. The budget has to go to legislators for a vote.

Dozens of college union members showed up to say the county has to do better.

Former Erie County Legislator David Dale, a disbarred lawyer from Lancaster, faces possible jail time after pleading guilty to a fraud charge.  

Dale, 49, went before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns Tuesday and pled to one charge of first-degree felony scheme to defraud and one count of practice of law by an attorney who has been disbarred.

WBFO News photos by Mike Desmond

A computerized animal abuse registry for Erie County is inching closer. Legislators held a public hearing into the matter Thursday night at County Hall in downtown Buffalo.

Legislator Terry McCracken is proposing the registry so data on people with criminal convictions for animal abuse would be online for five years and could be checked by pet stores or animal welfare groups to prevent them from obtaining more animals through purchase or adoption.

Sheriff explains mistaken inmate release

Mar 22, 2012
Chris Caya/WBFO

The mistaken release of a man charged with attempted murder landed Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard in the hot seat in County Hall. 

The Legislature's Public Safety Committee questioned Howard for nearly an hour about the wrongful release of 32-year-old Awet Gebreyesus who was ordered held without bail after allegedly stabbing his wife in the entrance of the Amherst Street Wegmans in January. 

WBFO file photo

A local law legislating cyberbullying is now on the books in Erie County.  County Executive Mark Poloncarz signed the measure today after it gained passage in the legislature last month. 

The law makes cyberbullying against a minor or a student a misdemeanor crime punishable by as long as a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. 

But in signing the law, Poloncarz also expressed "serious doubts" about whether or not it is enforceable in its current form. 

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