Weekly Feature

2010-12-01 / Letters to the Editor

Legislature should focus on residents

As the county legislator for Williamsville and a section of Amherst, I take my responsibility as a local representative very seriously. During the Nov. 18 session of the Legislature, my colleagues in the Republican Caucus and I presented a time-sensitive resolution requesting that New York State release money earmarked for equipment upgrades to 911 emergency services.

Specifically, the resolution requests the State Legislature to appropriately disburse the $200 million of cell phone surcharges to the 911 public safety answering points across New York State.

These answering points are located in Amherst and across Erie County, and this money is needed for operational costs and continuing upgrades. As noted in a recent report by the NYS comptroller, a significant portion of the funding has been reallocated to the general fund on spending not related to E-911 service improvements.

Erie County police departments are entitled to these funds and have not been receiving what is rightfully theirs. It was extremely important that the County Legislature vote on this resolution during our mid-November session in order for our message to be received in time for the next session of the State Legislature at the end of November.

I was extremely disappointed when Legislator Lynn Marinelli objected to the resolution being put to a vote. She chose to use procedural gimmickry to send the item to the Public Safety Committee, where it will languish for weeks. Legislator Marinelli clearly understood that this was time-sensitive but instead blocked its approval because she was unhappy with other legislative decisions on that day.

In the matter of public safety, your Erie County Legislature needs to cast aside political games and partisan politics and instead should focus on the best interests of its residents.
Edward A. Rath III
county legislator
District 15

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