Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 10, 2012

Familiar financial outlook

Niagara Gazette —

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli visited Niagara Falls on Monday to present his office's "fiscal profile" of the city. 

The new report - part of a larger effort by DiNapoli to offer cities and municipalities in New York a "snapshot" review of their financial conditions - offered much of what city residents have known for years: Niagara Falls has struggled amid population loss and suffered a major financial hit when its annual allotment of casino revenue dried up in 2009. 

"Although the city's failure to receive planned casino revenue has significantly impacted its current fiscal condition, Niagara Falls' problems are chronic in nature," the city's Fiscal Profile 2012 concludes. "At a population of 50,193 in 2010, Niagara Falls is literally half the city it was in 1960."

During a stop at City Hall, DiNapoli outlined various aspects of his office's new "fiscal profile" program which has been created to provide lawmakers and citizens with a summary of the financial status of municipalities across New York. 

The first pair of profiles focused on Niagara Falls and the city of Salamanca - two communities dealing with the added fiscal stress of not receiving slot machine revenue promised to them under the state's Gaming Compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians. DiNapoli said the two cities were not singled out for any particular reason, adding that they are just the first in a series of planned reviews covering all 61 cities and perhaps other municipalities across New York. 

"We will start and stick with the cities, particularly the cities that are in trouble," Dinapoli said.

The fiscal profile for Niagara Falls highlights several areas where the city lags behind the state average including:

• A median income of $31,425 as compared to a state average of $55,603.

• A poverty rate of 17.6 percent as compared to a statewide rate of 10.8 percent.

• A tax-exempt property rate of 44. 8 percent as compared to the 32 percent state average.

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