Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 19, 2013

DYSTER GUEST: Time for council majority to stop misleading public

Niagara Gazette — As your mayor, I have a responsibility to work with our city council for the good of the city. You know that when it comes to government, politics is part of the game whether we like it or not. But our officials also have a duty to rise above politics and petty personal attacks in order to get things done.

Over the past two months, the city council majority has simply crossed the line. Their goal is to mislead the public, and now they are using the approved city budget as a political tool instead of a spending plan. We need this to stop, and to get back to running our city government. 

The city council reduced and eliminated funding for the Niagara Falls Block Club Council, Niagara Falls Beautification Commission, and the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center after all of those dollars were approved in the 2013 budget. I have already gone on record about the value or volunteerism, neighborhood crime prevention, and the economic impact of arts and culture on our community.

The city council majority has already gone on record calling these community members, “fun and fluff,” “special interest groups,” “living in a world of entitlement” and explaining that their “run is over.”  

Regardless of our feelings on those opinions and personal attacks, the council is clearly disregarding the city charter, and either does not understand or does not respect our city’s form of government. They see the budget as just “numbers on a page,” to quote Councilman Sam Fruscione, that can be manipulated for political motives, when a budget is, in fact, a local law.

It is questionable whether they even have the legal authority to make these changes or if they understand the city charter and the mayor-city council relationship. I have been your mayor for five years and served on the city council for four years before that. They could always have called me to talk about this, but they chose not to.

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