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Giambra Laments Delay in Legislature Action

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – It appears the Erie County Legislature will meet in a special session next Tuesday to act on measures to close a $118 million deficit in the current year's budget.

Both County Executive Joel Giambra and County Comptroller Nancy Naples are calling on county legislators to approve their proposal for deficit financing, combined with a quarter-cent increase in the county's sales tax.

But during a news conference Tuesday, Giambra said the necessary two-thirds majority of ten votes is still not there to raise the tax. He also expressed disappointment that the Legislature is waiting a week to act.

"Comptroller Naples and I both indicated that the sooner the better," Giambra said. "We have to give some measure of hope to the people of this community and some assurance to the credit markets that (the county) is a safe investment."

Also Tuesday, Giambra recommended a downsizing of the County Legislature. With so many current legislators deciding not to seek re-election this year, Giambra said now would be a good time to reduce the size of the Legislature from 15 to nine members.

"I think we should be reducing the cost of government," Giambra said. "We should be looking to next year, as I am already doing, to cut costs and streamline government. (Downsizing the Legislature) would be one of many initiatives that we should undertake."

Giambra called on the Legislature to pass a downsizing measure so that it can go before voters this November.