Preservation Of Olmsted, City Parks Major Concern Of County Legislature During Budget Hearings

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2009

Members of the Erie County Legislature Finance, Management and Budget Committee voiced concern for the preservation of services and quality staffing of the county parks in the City of Buffalo and the operations of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy during Thursday's 2010 proposed budget hearings.

While the legislators discussed the Buffalo county parks and the Olmsted Conservancy with representatives from the Parks Department, they look forward to the opportunity to discuss the budget proposals and Olmsted status with the Olmsted Parks Conservancy during its budget hearing at noon Friday, October 30.

"The Olmsted parks are an absolute treasure to Erie County and its residents, including those who I represent in the 11th District," County Legislature Chair Lynn M. Marinelli (D-Buffalo, Tonawanda) said. "The Olmsted Parks Conservancy has performed a wonderful job of maintaining the parks, and of gaining the public's confidence that the parks are taken care of and will continue to be. We must make sure that the conservancy's role is maintained by budgetary decisions."

"The county parks in Buffalo are vital resources that must be preserved and improved for the citizens who use them daily," County Legislature Majority Leader Maria R. Whyte (D-Buffalo) said. "We deserve reassurances that the county, in its budget and other dealings, will continue to create opportunities for the city parks to thrive."

Continuing to offer services to lower-income and other in-need communities was a concern expressed by County Legislator Thomas J. Mazur (D-Cheektowaga, Depew), Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, during the Department of Social Services budget hearing.

"I am opposed to the closing of the day care registration program and to the proposal to stop offering other critical services and shutting down those programs." Legislator Mazur said. "I want an accounting and list of these services being proposed to be cut. These service cut proposals are too often a surprise to us; we need to be informed ahead of time so we can inform our constituents."

The committee schedule for Friday, October 30, is: 9-9:45 a.m., Division of Information and Support Services; 10-10:30 a.m., Real Property Tax Services; 10:35-11:05 a.m., Cornell Cooperative Extension; 11:15-11:45 a.m., Erie County Soil and Water; noon-12:30 p.m., Olmsted Conservancy; 1-3 p.m., Arts and Cultural Groups.

The commissioner and chair of ECCRAB have been officially requested by the committee to return to the hearings when the cultural organizations are scheduled to discuss their budgets with the committee at 1 p.m. Friday.

All budget hearings and presentations are open to the public and will be held in the County Legislature Chambers on the Fourth Floor of 92 Franklin Street in Buffalo.