Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 13, 2013

Dyster confident Falls will move forward despite fiscal challenges

Dyster confident projects will continue in the Falls despite significant fiscal challenges

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Through it all, Dyster — who ran for re-election in 2011 under the slogan “fast forward” — insists the city will change for the better this year and residents will continue to see a fair share of public infrastructure improvements in the days and months ahead. 

“As the weather turns and as some of these development agreements get concluded, people are going to see, once again in 2013, a very active construction season here,” he said.

And recent developments in the state — the implementation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” plan and related projects being developed for Niagara Falls — have Dyster believing the city may soon cash in on the initiatives. 

“There is a very strong role for Niagara Falls, especially in the tourism industry segment,” he said.

The mayor acknowledged the condition of the city’s finances may make it difficult for city officials to keep those projects on track.

“We’ve juggled our funds in order to be able to keep all of the projects moving forward,” Dyster said. “But, it’s getting harder and harder to do that.”

In addition to cash flow issues related to the lack of casino funds, the city will now have a tougher time borrowing money through municipal bonding - the other option available to continue to cover costs for large-scale projects.

This week, the bond rating agency, Moody’s Investors, dropped the city’s rating by two positions, meaning borrowing for municipal projects will come at higher interest and, therefore, higher costs. 

“The two ways that we had for making our match for capital projects like road construction projects are both becoming problematic,” Dyster said.

In addition to the cash flow and borrowing issues, Dyster worries about some lines in the city’s adopted budget for 2013. Specifically, he said he’s concerned about $7 million counted as revenues - money set to pay the debt service on the Main Street Public Safety Complex and other financial obligations. Dyster maintains that they were sourced from anticipated casino revenues. If the city does not receive money before those bills are due, it will be in trouble, Dyster said. 

“I’m very concerned that our expenses and our revenues are not in balance for, not just subsequent years, but for 2013,” he said. 

COMING MONDAY New Niagara Falls Police Chief Bryan DalPorto sets his agenda for 2013

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