Niagara Gazette — Mayor Paul Dyster is hoping to restore several positions and salaries that have been cut in recent years to the 2014 budget.
Dyster has included the restoration of a grant administrator position and a director of business development position and has returned the salaries of the city administrator and the city engineer to their original levels in his proposed budget for 2014, which he submitted to the city council on Oct. 1.
These positions and salaries were cut during the dispute between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York state over an exclusivity clause in the 2002 gaming compact between the two parties. During the four-year dispute the city was not receiving host community payments - 25 percent of slot machine revenues that averaged $19 million a year leading up to the log jam — and austerity became a common theme in city hall.
Now, with the dispute settled, Dyster hopes that council members will include the positions and restore the salary.
Dyster has attempted to restore funding for a grant administrator twice during the year unsuccessfully.
The position was eliminated by a council amendment during last year’s budget process. Dyster’s veto of the Grant Writing Consultant line was overturned, with only Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti voting to keep the $30,000 line.
Dyster has again included the line in his proposed budget for 2014, arguing that department heads have attempted to keep up with the grant administration work in their respective city offices, but have fallen behind.
Some council members, including Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian, said the city needed to try to get the work done without the help of an outside administrator.
Dyster said the city has tried that solution with poor results.
“It did not work,” he said.
Dyster attempted to restore the grant administrator consultant for the remainder of the year in may, submitting a resolution that would have paid a $15,000 stipend for six months worth of services.