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County leaders reject library district

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and eight members of the Erie County Legislature agree on one issue: they don't want the library system turned into a separate taxing district.The Buffalo and Erie County Library board and the two dozen library boards across the county have been studying for years proposals to establish the library as a special district setting its own budget and levying its own taxes.

On Thursday, legislators voted their opposition to the idea.

Lancaster Public Library President Suzanne Jacobs expressed her disappointment over the vote. Jacobs says the plan would ensure that county libraries "have the stability, the financial stability to maintain our services."

Libraries have been the target of budget cuts at times of sagging revenues, often becoming a political issue during campaign season.

Among those opposing the district was Peter Savage III who had just been sworn into office as a legislator, filling the seat vacated by Lynn Marinelli for a district including parts of Buffalo and the Town of Tonawanda.

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
Peter Savage III was sworn in Thursday to the Erie County Legislature as he takes over for Lynn Marinelli.

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.