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Mediators Appointed to Resolve Budget Crisis, Zoo Lays Off Employees

By Staff

Buffalo, NY – Three Buffalo businessmen were appointed Friday to act as mediators as discussions continue in Erie County Hall on resolving the county's budget crisis.

David Rutecki, Dennis Penman and Robert Gioia will work with legislators through the weekend to develop a consensus. At issue is closing a more than $100 million deficit in the current year's budget.

The Buffalo Zoo is already responding to the potential loss of $1.4 million in county revenue. Zoo President Donna Fernandes announced today that 20 employees will be laid off. She said the Zoo will now be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays while admission prices will be going up.

Fernandes also announced that the Zoo's master plan is on hold. That means the highly anticipated Rain Forest exhibit that's scheduled to open in 2007 will be delayed.