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Governor Pataki Proposes Oversight Board for Erie County

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – A seven member fiscal oversight board is being imposed on Erie County. Governor Pataki and state legislative leaders agreed Tuesday on the creation of what will be known as the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority.

The board will begin its work in an advisory role but could be given additional control of county finances if the crisis worsens.

County Executive Joel Giambra says he welcomes such a board. Giambra said he and Pataki held a private conversation about the best approach for solving the county's problems when the Governor visited the region last Friday.

"We talked extensively of the need," Giambra said. "He asked very specific questions about what is the amount of outstanding debt. They were very intelligent questions. And we gave him very specific answers.

"It appears the Governor believes that Erie County is not ready for a full-blown control board based on what he's proposing."

Giambra was in New York City Monday to meet with Wall Street rating agencies. He told them that he will deliver a structurally-balanced budget for 2006, and that he'll have a framework for that by July 15th.

Giambra said his 2006 budget will recommend that towns covered by Sheriff's road patrols will be assessed a fee for that service. He also said he will recommend a reduction in the county's subsidy to the Erie County Medical Center.