Niagara Gazette —
The measure that was sent to committee on Tuesday was co-sponsored by legislature Chairman Bill Ross, C-Wheatfield, and Legislator Clyde Burmaster, R-Ransomville. It called for Niagara County Attorney Claude Joerg to draw up a formal engagement letter that would allow the county and the Town of Lewiston to share the cost of Abraham's legal fees on an alternating basis moving forward.
Resolutions are often referred to committee before being voted on by the full legislature. Legislative rules allow for resolutions to bypass committee review, but only if such action is supported unanimously by all 15 legislators. There is also a clause in the rule that bars such a move in instances where a resolution involves the expenditure of county funds.
On Thursday, Burmaster said members of the Republican-led caucus had a lengthy debate about putting the measure to a vote or referring it to committee. Ultimately, he said, it was decided that committee members should be allowed to sit down with Abraham for a progress report so they understand where the county stands in terms of the landfill expansion issue and what more needs to be done on the front in the future.
Burmaster, who has long supported efforts to oppose landfill expansion, said he's hopeful the measure will ultimately win approval once it has been reviewed by committee members.
"I believe we really need to continue doing this," Burmaster said. "Everything we have done to oppose this expansion has been unanimous and I'm hoping we will come at this unanimous."
Minority Leader Dennis Virtuoso, D-Niagara Falls, said the members of his caucus support continuing the county's relationship with Abraham.
"How are you going to fight this big company without a qualified lawyer?" Virtuoso said. "You're not going to be able to do it. This guy's been doing a great job for 10 years."