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Hoyt "Leaning" Toward Erie County Control Board

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Despite Tuesday's vote by the County Legislature, at least one state lawmaker says a control board remains a possibility for Erie County.

It was hoped by some in county government that a new revenue source, combined with deficit financing, would be enough to convince the state that a control board is not necessary. But that may not be the case. State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt says an even greater deficit is projected for 2006 that has yet to be addressed. He says that may be enough for state leaders to place Erie County under the oversight of a control board.

"I'm undecided, though I am leaning toward a control board," Hoyt said. "While it's good that they have taken this action to deal with this year's budget problem, there's still a huge problem in the future."

The decision to impose a control board on Erie County rests solely with the state. For one to be created, Hoyt said there would need to be a consensus among the state's top leaders.

"If the Governor agrees, but the Majority Leader of the Senate or the Assembly Speaker disagrees, then it doesn't happen," Hoyt said. "All three have to agree."

Hoyt said it's likely the State Senate and Assembly will go along with the county's request to raise its sales tax by a quarter of a penny. That approval is expected soon. The State Legislature adjourns next week.