Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 4, 2013

Elimination of funds for block clubs, beautification group defended by council majority

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — “The discussion about the actual agreement is just the implementation of what these contracts already say,” Dyster said. “These organizations probably came away from the initial budget process thinking that they would see these funds.”

Anderson said the council had much bigger issues to deal with during the budget process — during which they stopped what was to be an 8 percent tax hike for homeowners and a 5 percent hike for business owners proposed in the mayor’s budget — than deciding what organizations should continue to get city money.

“We didn’t have $10,000 problems we had million dollar problems,” Anderson said.

Dyster said the city gets a deal when investing in these organizations as they are the ones who help contribute to community cleanups, crime prevention efforts and other quality of life initiatives.

“With each of these organizations, that rely very heavily on volunteer labor, the amount of leveraging that we get for the small amount of money that the city invests in them is returned to us many, many times over,” the mayor said.

As for the magicians and hot dogs questioned by Fruscione, Dyster said community outreach is an important part of what the organizations do, particularly the block club council.

“We’re looking for them to sort of bridge city hall and the various city operational departments into the individual neighborhoods,” Dyster said. “In order to do that, they have to do outreach.”

Choolokian said the council hopes to sit down and negotiate a better deal for the city with the block club council and the beautification commission, but indicated the council majority would not support continued funding for the NACC.

“It looks like there are certain groups that are getting singled out for funding for long periods of time,” Choolokian said. “We can’t continue to do that.”

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