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Erie County health officials answer questions why Williamsville was fined over mask violation

The Village of Williamsville voted Thursday to hire an attorney to fight a $300 fine.

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — 2 On Your Side is answering your questions about the $300 fine Williamsville got for defying the mask mandate.

Just to get everyone up-to-speed, on Thursday, the Williamsville Village Board voted to hire an attorney to fight the fine. The Erie County Department of Health fined the village after Mayor Deb Rogers and others were seen not wearing masks at a January 10 meeting.

Some 2 On Your Side viewers wanted to know why Williamsville was fined, while the leaders of some other Erie County municipalities have said they are not supporting the mask mandate. Leaders in Marilla and Grand Island have taken stands against the mandate.

Here's what the Williamsville mayor said about the fine at last night's special meeting.

"For the life of me, I really have no idea why a billion dollar bureaucracy like Erie County is targeting our one square mile of the Village of Williamsville when there are town halls across Erie County that have also shown their opposition through both resolutions and unmasked attendance at their respective board meetings, as well," said Williamsville Mayor Deb Rogers. "The stipulation at hand is merely a civil compromise, and by signing that stipulation, the Village of Williamsville gives an admission of responsibility to mask enforcement, liability, and guilt, and we as a village can not be expected to do something that is against our better judgment."

2 On Your Side went to the county for answers Friday to explain the rationale behind the fine. A spokesperson from the Erie County Department of Health told us that the Department of Health received a complaint about Village of Williamsville board meetings related to mask wearing, and their department followed up with a letter to the board and sent an inspector to a subsequent village board meeting. They say this follows their general practice when receiving complaints. 

The ECDOH then says it issued the stipulation to the Village of Williamsville after an Investigating Public Health Sanitarian witnessed willful violation of state and county mask laws/orders at the Village Board meeting. 

The Williamsville Village Board voted 3-to-2 Thursday night to move forward with legal action to fight the fine and hired an attorney.