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Charter Revision Commission rushing to meet deadline

WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond

Operating on a tight timetable nearing its end, Erie County's Charter Revision Commission is rushing to put a package of proposals together to send to the Erie County Legislature. Eventually, something will be on the ballot in November for the voters to decide. 

Chairman Todd Aldinger said the piles of paper before members right now are a hodgepodge. The most controversial item may be a Regional Council of all the mayors and supervisors. Aldinger said they would meet quarterly.

"They don't have any jurisdiction to do anything else. They already collect a salary from their town or their city. They will just walk into this room, once a quarter, meet each other," said Aldinger. "Hopefully, maybe from this forum will emerge some more regional cooperation. But, at the very least, they can say if 50 percent of us agree on a local law, let's propose a local law and see what the Legislature thinks."

The 50 percent would be based upon weighted voting reflecting population. The Legislature would be required to vote up or down on any proposal coming from this upper house of county government.

Associate Deputy County Comptroller Bryan Fiume said the Poloncarz Administration is running a thin financial ship and some things need to change.

"The total fund balance grew by $305,000. To put that into perspective, even the current county executive's average fund balance contribution is over $3 million," said Fiume. "During the Chris Collins years, $17 million was his average. The Giambra years, negative-$17 million. The Gorski years, an average of $21 million being added to the fund balance."

The commission is planning to meet next Tuesday and next Thursday to get its work done before its mandate expires June 15.

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.