Niagara Gazette —
Residents filled the Niagara Falls City Council chambers to voice their grievances with Mayor Paul Dyster's proposed budget and a bailout deal brokered by Dyster and state officials with the New York Power Authority at a public hearing.
Citizens complained of the mismanagement of casino revenues, expressed fears about funding cuts and urged council members not to take the power authority deal, in which the city would give up the host community payment of $850,000 a year for the remaining 44 years of the relicensing agreement signed in 2005 for a lump sum payment of $13.5 million.
The most vocal and visible group at the meeting was made up of citizens asking the council to restore funding to the Niagara Falls Public Library, which would receive $100,000 less than it did in 2012 if Dyster's proposed 2013 budget were passed.
People in the first two rows of seating held up signs in support of the library while Frank Croisdale, the president of the nonprofit group Niagara Rises, spoke in support of the library.
Croisdale said the council members need to understand the the importance of the library and its 117-year history in the city, urging them to restore the funding.
"Don't let the legacy of today's government be that this is when we cut it," Croisdale said.
Niagara Rises has helped to bring programming to the library that gives teenagers access to different technologies Croisdale said that he has seen the positive influence that the library has on young people.
"In that work I've been able to see first-hand the incredible impact that our library is making on the youth of this city and helping position them for their future lives," he said, submitting a petition with over 900 signatures asking that the funding be restored.
After Croisdale, a line of teens who use the technology center stood to address the council.