LOCKPORT — County lawmakers voted Wednesday to restore many of the cuts made to public safety departments, putting $282,857 back into the 2006 budget.

Every cut that department heads requested be restored was granted, as well as raises for the county sheriff.

County Manager Gregory Lewis, who recommended the cuts, said he did so because he was looking at the “global” picture and long-term costs of the employees, including fringe benefits.

Lewis said if a redesign of the county’s health care employee benefit plan takes place, then the county could look at hiring some of them back. Until then, employee benefits create too much of a cost for the county.

Sheriff Thomas Beilein said public safety in the county shouldn’t suffer because Lewis is having trouble negotiating health care benefits with two unions, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and CSEA, both of which don’t represent public safety employees.

Lewis’ speech did not persuade members of the Legislature’s Community Safety and Security Committee, who voted to reinstate a part-time assistant public defender, two part-time assistant district attorneys, two Sheriff’s Department investigators and one sheriff’s work program coordinator.

The votes were largely unanimous, except for a few dissents from Legislator Peter Smolinski and one from Legislator Gerald Meal.

“I think we have to have faith in our county manager,” said Smolinski, R-North Tonawanda.

District Attorney Matthew Murphy said cutting two part-time attorneys would eliminate 57 years of experience in his office.

“It’s just something I can’t afford to lose,” Murphy said, adding that one of the lawyers already receives lifetime health benefits, so the county would still be paying for fringe benefits, even with the cut.

In the Sheriff’s Department, 11 cuts were recommended, and Beilein asked that three be restored.

The public defender position that was restored is currently vacant.

The committee also voted to recreate a forensic criminalist position and create five sheriff’s deputy positions for court security, all of which are grant-funded.

The moves need to be approved by the full Legislature on Dec. 20 before they are final.

In other business, Beilein requested a three percent raise in 2007, 2008 and 2009, but no increase in 2006.

Beilein won re-election in November to another four-year term. His salary will rise from $90,763 in 2005 and 2006 to $99,180 in 2009, if the full Legislature agrees at its meeting Dec. 20.

Also Tuesday, Beilein asked that $80,000 be taken from the county’s contingency fund to cover rising costs at the county jail.

There is only $43,000 left in the contingency fund, so the money, or at least part of it, will have to come from fund balance, according to budget director Daniel Huntington.