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Legislature chair issues paper memo calling for less paper use

WBFO's Mike Desmond

When Erie County legislators met in their afternoon session Thursday, they received a nearly one-inch thick packet of papers. It included a notice from Chairman John Mills that the legislature has been using too much paper.

Mills cited a 67 percent increase in paper usage in April compared to the same month a year ago. That may reflect the mass of paper used by the Charter Revision Commission for various actions and an array of recommendations. Even with more and more printing done on both sides of a sheet of paper, usage continues to increase.

"When I took over as Chairman," Mills said, "we started to dissect what we spend in the legislature and this is the way we should be going. I'm from the last century, so to speak, and we're in the new century. We shouldn't be destroying all this paper... cutting trees down."

Mills says he's fighting the same proliferation of paper in his private food distribution business. Besides the cost of the paper, he cites the cost of printer ink cartridges and maintenance contracts on printers as more reasons to cut usage.

According to Mills, the legislature may return to the use of laptops on desks to cut the use of paper.

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.