BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Erie County is throwing a lifeline to dozens of local cultural groups.
The curtain was about to fall on more than three-dozen arts and cultural groups in Erie County, whose funding was eliminated by outgoing County Executive Chris Collins. But county lawmakers re-worked the books and voted to put back nearly a million dollars that was cut.
Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte said, "Just like any household budget, you put your money where your values are."
It was the final hurdle for county lawmakers, adopting changes to the upcoming budget and restoring more than $900,000 to 37 arts and cultural groups. The Theatre of Youth is in line for $53,000, which will lead to a few more jobs. See a breakdown of what groups received funding and how much they got here.
Robert Brunschmid of the Theatre of Youth said, "We are talking about creating additional programming, that are serving the needs of our community. So it is absolutely going to be useful to not just our organization, but the community."
County lawmakers also agreed to return rodent control to the county health department, which Collins cut and relegated back to cash-strapped cities and towns.
Legislator Lynn Marinelli said, "Trying to do it at the municipal level was legally and operationally impossible, and fiscally not going to happen. It is better to do it as a regional approach."
The amended budget also holds the line on taxes, but some Republican lawmakers felt the restored funds was more than the county can afford.
"We had some ideas of about $475,000, or $500,000 going into the culturals because we understand the importance that they have in our community, as an economic driver, as a quality of life," said legislator Edward Rath.
And lawmakers also said there will be pain, especially for county workers, as many as 50 layoffs.
Legislator Kevin Hardwick said, "Because of advances in technology, because of efficiencies that are found by managers doing their job, these layoffs have to occur."
The amended budget passed by a 13-to-one margin. While Chris Collins still has the authority to amend the spending plan, Collins issued a brief written statement late Tuesday afternoon, promising not to issue a veto.
In his words, "I will let all changes to the proposed 2012 budget stand."
A Town of Tonawanda restaurant owner has been arrested and charged with strangulation and assault.
A house became engulfed in flames on Route 243, in Rushford, early Wednesday morning.
Law enforcement agencies in El Paso County, Colorado have made an arrest in the hit-and-run death of a western New York native.
Kenmore Mercy Hospital is closing its 3 West Patient Care Unit in January, affecting about 30 associates at the hospital.
The suspension of a 6-year-old boy for kissing a girl at school is raising questions about whether the peck should be considered sexual harassment.
Lakes will remain active on and off through the weekend.