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ECC struggles with budget priorities

ecc budget hearing.JPG
mike desmond/wbfo
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Erie County legislators were told on Monday ECC has to have more money to keep it an effective college.

Student tuition now provides around 52 percent of the proposed $111 million budget, which includes a $300 annual tuition increase. The county's share holds steady just over $17 million and 44 vacant positions are being abolished.

College President Jack Quinn says cuts in state aid and frozen county dollars made the fiscal situation worse. The budget has to go to legislators for a vote.

Dozens of college union members showed up to say the county has to do better.

A former Legislature chairman and long-time college board member, Ray Gallagher, says legislators have to do better on operating and capital costs.
      
"We're talking about a new building. The reason for that new building is that we have not had the capital funds committed on a yearly basis to support our structures. That north campus has been a reaction of safety. That's the only time we seem to get the money to solve a problem is when it's a safety issue," said Gallagher.

There is a fight over $30 million for a new building deciding where the structure should go: the deteriorating North campus or downtown, near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.