Niagara Gazette —
On Monday, the council approved funding deals with both the block club and NBC, albeit at less than originally agreed upon amounts. In a pair of 5-0 votes, council members agreed to provide the NBC with $2,500 in bed tax revenue — down from the $5,000 contained in the budget — and the block club council $2,500, a reduction of $7,500 from the group's original $10,000 allocation.
Before voting, both council members Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker indicated that they voted to accept the reduced amounts because they believed both NBC and the block club would be better served by having some money from the city than none at all.
As for the NACC — the funding item that drew the most attention from speakers in attendance — lawmakers voted 3-2 to suspend all of the $30,000 that was to be dedicated to the center this year. Choolokian joined council members Sam Fruscione and Robert Anderson Jr. in favor of the move, while Grandinetti and Walker voted against the measure.
Walker called financial support for the NACC a "no-brainer."
"We put faith in that group and the community to take that building and bring it back," Walker said, referring to the original Save Our Sites organization which rallied to save the old Niagara Falls High School building and turn into into a cultural center several years ago. "I can honestly say they they've been very, very, very successful.
"It would cost over $30,000 just to cut the grass and shovel the show if nobody was in that building," he added.
Grandinetti criticized the handling of the situation by the council majority, arguing that the time to make such cuts was last year when the 2013 municipal budget was under consideration.
"We are forcing these groups to take a deal and going back on our word," she said, referring to reduced funding agreements for both the NBC and block club council.