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Three Republicans Push Plan to Restore Services

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Three Republican county legislators have presented recommendations to try and stop drastic service cuts. The three had voted against last week's massive budget cuts and are now trying to come up with some new solutions to restore some county services.

Minority Leader Michael Ranzenhofer and fellow Republicans Elise Cusak and Denise Marshall say the final $24 million in budget cuts approved last Thursday was done in haste. They say it was a "slash and burn" package that closed the parks, three auto bureaus and other vital services. So, they are recommending an employee furlough program, a restructuring of employee paid holidays, the privatizing of county golf courses and rotating the opening of county parks and auto bureaus.

"Or can we have, instead of a large auto bureau and some of the satellite areas, can we have kiosks, where we have smaller auto bureaus?" Ranzenhofer asked. "There are a whole host of ideas out there."

The three Republicans say they are even willing to take a pay cut to help restore services. In fact, Ranzenhofer says he already sent a letter asking for a ten-percent cut.

"I've done it before. A letter has gone in," Ranzenhofer said. "I don't know if it has been processed by Personnel. But the letter has been sent in."

Cusak says their suggestions are an effort to start solving the fiscal mess.

"Everything is on the table. This is a historic time in county government and everyone has to be willing to compromise," Cusack said. "I would certainly be the first to join in a pay cut."

The three Republicans say voters continue to ask them not to raise taxes.

They are now calling on the Legislature chairman to convene a special session to consider their latest efforts to begin resolving the fiscal crisis.