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County Home Residents, Family and Staff Rally against Proposed Closing

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A huge rally against the proposed closing of the Erie County Home and Infirmary in Alden was held Tuesday. The Erie County Medical Center says if it is forced to cut another $3 million from its budget, it will have to close the facility.

Protestors crowded the courtyard that faces Walden Avenue outside the facility for the "Save Our Home" rally. They waved signs with messages directly aimed at county leaders. Some read "Step up to the Plate, Mr. Giambra," and "County Legislature -- You Made the Mess." One by one residents, family and staffers protested against the proposed closing.

"How dare you tell me that there are duplicate services, there are not."

"It is such a shame to even consider to close this place."

"You have no right to close it, don't even thing about it."

But County Legislature Chairman George Holt is vowing to make sure that lawmakers do not vote on budget cuts that would force the closing. Holt say he will not put a resolution to cut another $3 million from ECMC before the Legislature Thursday.

"I will assure you, as the chairman of the Erie County Legislature, I will work diligently with my colleagues to make sure there will not be a vote to close this facility," Holt said.

ECMC president Michael Young would not conduct interviews, but did issue a written statement. Young says the hospital can not absorb an additional $3 million in cuts. ECMC was already forced to cut about $10 million in spending.