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County Budget Crisis Affects Pothole Repairs, Health Testing

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Ripple effects from massive cuts to spending in Erie County continue affecting everything from pothole repairs to public health programs.

Back in March, WBFO News reported that the Department of Public Works was running short on asphalt just at the start of pothole season. Now acting Public Works Commissioner Gerard Sentz says they don't have enough money to buy asphalt.

At the Erie County Health Department, several testing programs will be cut as of today. The Buffalo News reports that the department will stop testing for lead poisoning, sickle cell anemia and advanced syphilis. Public Health Labs Director Scott Zimmerman says funding cuts are also hurting programs that involve testing of food safety, drinking water and rodent control.

Zimmerman says that "horrifies" him, since the department is supposed to be concerned with the public's health.

But Erie County's two golf courses, Elma Meadows and Grover Cleveland, opened for the season Monday despite the budget crisis. The county hiked cart fees by $2 in order to raise needed revenues to keep the courses operating. But county parks remain closed.