Erie County takes action

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Erie County now confirms that it will roll out a restaurant inspection website after Thanksgiving – most likely the first week of December.

This follows a News 4 investigation that revealed that Erie is the only county not to post its restaurant inspections either on its own site or a statewide website.

We began asking questions about this back in September.

“We’re actually developing a product where we will have that information online,” says Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Health Commissioner.

But when News 4 Investigates pressed county health officials about a timeline IE end of the year or next year, this is what we were told, “We’re working on it. I don’t have a deadline set,” says Mark Kowalski, of the Erie County Health Department.

Just about two weeks ago, the President of Healthspace USA, which is under contract with Erie County to computerize health-related inspections, told us the county  at that point, had not requested a website launch.

“So they haven’t, if you will, made the decision to proceed,” says Joseph Willmott, President, Healthspace USA.

News 4, through the state Freedom of Information Law, obtained the county’s database of restaurant inspections and posted the reports on WIVB.com.

Peter Anderson, Press Secretary to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, told News 4 Investigates one day after our ‘Dicey Dining’ report first aired on Nov. 11 that the county wanted to make sure everything was done correctly before launching a website.

“When this does go live, and Erie County residents are able to get on. We will have a searchable, very user- friendly database they can access to find out about restaurants,” says Anderson.

He confirmed Thursday that the Healthspace contractor is working on a Erie County restaurant inspections website.

The company designs and hosts websites for health departments in the United States and Canada.

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