joseph lorigo

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

The head of Erie County’s Department of Senior Services says he will fine nursing homes that don’t comply with Ruthie’s Law by the end of the month, seemingly ending months of criticism and scrutiny over a lack of fines.

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

WBFO reported in October that most Erie County nursing homes aren’t complying with Ruthie’s Law, yet none have been fined by the county’s Department of Senior Services. Last week, Senior Services officials invited WBFO to come along as they conducted unannounced visits on three of the noncompliant nursing homes. But some feel the county still isn’t doing enough to enforce the law. 

 

WBFO file photo

Roughly half of Erie County nursing homes are still not complying with Ruthie’s Law.

 

The county’s Department of Senior Services released the newest compliance data Tuesday, showing that only 18 of the county’s 35 nursing homes compiled with the law during the most recent reporting period.

 


 

 

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

Most homeowners opening their tax bills this season probably think the bill is too high. For Erie County homeowners, they may be right.

 

A budgeting error has caused thousands of residents to be overcharged a total of $4.4 million on their recent property tax bills. The nearly 200,000 incorrect bills were sent to the county's cities and larger suburbs like Amherst and Tonawanda. Impacted residents were overcharged $6.79 per $100,000 dollars of assessed value. 

 


Tom Dinki/WBFO News

It’s been more than two years since Erie County passed Ruthie’s Law, yet none of the nursing homes that have failed to comply during that time have been penalized.

 

On Thursday, the Erie County Legislature finally got to directly ask the county’s Department of Senior Services why that is.

 


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A combative day in the chambers of the Erie County Legislature regarding inmate care in county jails. Four inmates have died in county jails in the past 6 weeks and Sheriff Timothy Howard believes his office is being unfairly attacked by the public despite the Sheriff’s office being in compliance with recommendations from the Department of Justice.

WBFO file photo

Republicans in the Erie County Legislature want answers about Ruthie’s Law.

The Republican minority caucus sent a letter to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Tuesday, demanding he explain why nursing homes aren’t following the law and what his administration is doing to enforce it.

 

Erie County Probation Department

Albany made major changes in New York's criminal law in the last legislative session and those changes are slowly working into place. However, the cost of the changes is not yet clear.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News File Photo

Body cameras for Erie County deputy sheriffs are moving closer to reality, with bids in Wednesday to supply the cameras and the computer capacity to make the system work.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery

The Erie County Legislature agreed to put up the $5 million promised to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery by County Executive Mark Poloncarz, but it was along fight.

File Photo / WBFO News

With the election year heating up, so is the debate in Erie County government about how to spend an unexpectedly large budget surplus.

Michael Mroziak / WBFO News

The annual struggle over who will serve on the board of the political patronage-riddled Erie County Water Authority continues, after an Erie County Legislature committee interviewed the two candidates for a three-year term on the board.

File Photo / WBFO News

New York State should slash the number of people who are held after arrest because they can't come up with cash bail. That is the message the Erie County Legislature sent to Albany Thursday.

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There is a shift in the political makeup of the Erie County Legislature after longtime Republican Kevin Hardwick announced Tuesday that he will be caucusing with the Legislature's Democrats, as of Jan. 1.

File Photo / National Public Radio

While the major issue on Thursday's agenda was next year's budget, the Erie County Legislature also passed two other significant pieces of legislation.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Majority Democrats passed the Erie County budget they wanted Thursday, with a lot of new spending and a tax cut. That is because the county is awash in cash, particularly because sales tax revenue is so far above expectations.

With Erie County deep into the budget process for next year, county legislators voted Thursday to make some changes in the way it's asked to create new jobs.


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The Erie County Legislature voted 10-1 Thursday to appoint former Amherst Town Attorney E. Thomas Jones to the Erie County Water Authority board. Jones, a Republican, is the third Amherst attorney to be on the three-member board. Meanwhile, five lawmakers failed - by one vote - to fire ECWA Board Chairman Jerome Schad.

New York State Authorities Budget Office

The state body that reviews public authorities has censured Erie County Water Authority commissioners who served during 2016 and 2017. It is also recommending that any commissioner who served then and still remains on the board be replaced by the County Legislature.

File Photo / Visit Buffalo Niagara

Erie County Legislator Joseph Lorigo is accusing the Poloncarz Administration of a continued lack of cooperation in providing information that, he says, is needed if lawmakers are to vote on a request for more money for an expanded future convention center study.


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

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.

There is going to be more transparency in Erie County government under a new ethics law approved Thursday by the Legislature.


Dan Telvock

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.


Apple

If at first you don't succeed.... Erie County Legislature Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo says Apple may a better fit for Western New York than Amazon.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Erie County legislators have unanimously asked Albany to extend the deadline for renewing pistol permits, noting potentially thousands of permit holders have not renewed.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

It was a mix of generational change and backroom politics Thursday, as the Erie County Legislature reorganized after an election that put Democrats in charge.


WBFO News file photo

Al Dirschberger has gone from Erie County Social Services commissioner to a "person of interest" in a potentially criminal Albany incident involving a subordinate.

File Photo

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.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Without debate or discussion, Erie County legislators Thursday unanimously approved a budget for next year.

It took only one seat for Republicans to lose control of the Erie County Legislature Tuesday night.


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