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Erie County Legislature sues County Executive Chris Collins

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Buffalo: Erie County Legislature sues County Executive Chris Collins
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The Erie County Legislature is taking County Executive Chris Collins to court, claiming he broke the law by changing the county budget after it was finalized. As YNN's Doug Sampson tells us, the lawsuit stems from funding for Erie Community College.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Erie County legislature filed a lawsuit against Erie County Executive Chris Collins Tuesday morning.

The lawsuit stems from the County Executive refusing to pay more than $208,000 dollars as part of Erie Community College's 2009-2010 budget appropriation.

ECC received 15.4 million dollars in the original budget from the County Executive. The legislature added $208,000 more, which legislature Democratic Majority Leader Maria Whyte said Collins refused to pay.


In accordance with New York State law and the Erie County charter, Collins cannot change budget appropriations after they have been finalized. The legislators say that's exactly what he's done. Collins said he still has until December 31st to find more money for ECC.

"We've never said we're not going to pay ECC,” said Collins. “We're saying we need to find a source of funds. The lawsuit is a waste of tax payer money, it's ridiculous, and it's just another sign of the democrats and that side of the aisle wanting to do something that's wasteful."

Maria Whyte told YNN in a statement: "That' not accurate. He had until August 31, not December 31, because it goes by the college fiscal year, not the County's fiscal year. And it's inaccurate, because his budget director told us the County Executive told him not to pay ECC."

Six county legislators had scheduled a press conference for Tuesday afternoon, but postponed it until Friday following the explosion in Tonawanda.

The legislature will also hold a public hearing Wednesday on this year's budget proposal from Collins, which includes four million dollars in cuts for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System.

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