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LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Legislature voted last week to allow the Sheriff’s Office to award a contract to a private company to provide medical services to County Jail inmates as of Jan. 1.
Armor Correctional Services, a Florida company, was chosen, Chief Deputy Thomas C. Beatty said.
The firm will be responsible for operating an infirmary at the jail, providing doctors and stocking a supply of prescription and nonprescription drugs.
Although the cost of Armor’s contract hasn’t been settled, the county expects to see savings over this year’s jail medical budget, including $250,000 for medical and hospital costs, $300,000 for pharmaceuticals and $315,935 for medical staff salaries.
Seven nurses would be cut from the county payroll, although they could be hired by Armor.
A resolution asking the State Legislature to pass a bill allowing each county to impose its own surcharges on cellphone bills to pay for 911 systems was withdrawn for revision and is expected to resurface at the Oct. 16 meeting.
Legislator Paul E. Wojtaszek, R-North Tonawanda, said there are believe to be about 80,000 cellphones in Niagara County, and the standard 30 cents per month would yield $288,000 a year.
“If the state says, ‘We’re not going to give you a bigger share of the surcharge,’ we’ve got to have a Plan B. We’re got to pay for our new dispatch centers. It’s part of our narrowbanding project,” Wojtaszek said, referring to the county’s new $10 million emergency radio system.
In other matters last week, the Legislature gave Covanta Holding Corp. the green light to refinance $165.1 million worth of tax-exempt bonds issued to build its energy-from-waster incinerator in Niagara Falls.
The bonds were issued through the authority of the county Industrial Development Agency, but they are debts of Covanta, not the county.
The Niagara Area Development Corp., an IDA subsidiary with the same board as the parent agency, is expected to approve the refinancing Wednesday.
The Legislature also voted to issue a request for proposals to upgrade the county’s website, and to appropriate $20,000 for the purpose.
The vendor will be chosen by a committee consisting of Public Information Officer Christian W. Peck, Legislature Clerk Mary Jo Tamburlin and Information Technology Director Larry L. Helwig.
Lawmakers also spent $18,000 from the county’s remaining Seneca Niagara Casino funds, leaving $17,532 in that pot.
The expenditures included $4,500 toward a new phone system at the Historic Palace theatre in Lockport; $3,000 each for the Winter Wonderland holiday lighting promotion on Market Street in Lockport and the sidewalk and storefront promotion of the LaSalle Business and Professional Association; $2,500 toward a study of providing rural broadband Internet service in Niagara and Orleans counties; $2,000 each for the North Tonawanda History Museum and roof repairs at Twin Cities Community Outreach; and $1,000 for the North Tonawanda Winter Walk.
The Legislature ratified the Republican Party’s choice of Mary Ann L. Casamento for two more years as GOP election commissioner, and Lockport Mayor Michael W. Tucker’s choice of Dr. Elizabeth Micoli to remain on the Board of Health through 2018.
email: tprohaska@buffnews.com