Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 20, 2013

Community again comes out to dress down council majority on NACC funding cut

Community again comes out to dress down council majority for funding cut decision

Niagara Gazette — Terri Williams offered a gift to members of the Niagara Falls City Council Tuesday night.

During the public speaking portion of the council’s evening session, Williams placed a package of brown, paper lunch bags on the podium and suggested lawmakers start using them instead of using taxpayer money to buy meals at local restaurants on days when they hold bi-monthly meetings. 

“If you don’t know what to do with them, ask the taxpayers, we all use them,” Williams said, referring to her brown-bag offering. 

While her comments were directed at the entire council, they mirrored the frustration expressed by several speakers who came to city hall on Tuesday to decry the council majority’s decision to cut $30,000 in bed tax revenue originally earmarked for the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in 2013. 

For the second time in two weeks, more than a dozen people addressed the council, encouraging them to renew their support for the NACC. While they were fewer in number than the Feb. 4 meeting during which more than 100 people packed city hall, their message was the same: The NACC is too valuable to the community to lose and deserving of city funds to continue its operation. 

“I’m quite frankly shocked,” said Charles LeGreca, a member of the NACC’s board of directors and a local chef. “The word that keeps going around in my head is embarrassed.” 

Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian and fellow members Sam Fruscione and Robert Anderson Jr. voted during the Feb. 4 meeting to sever the city’s financial ties to the NACC as well as reduce its annual contributions to the Niagara Falls Block Club Council and Niagara Beautification Commission. All three said the move was needed to save the cash-strapped city money and to help curtail fiscal problems in the months ahead. 

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