Niagara Gazette —
"We agree with you watching how public funds are spent, but also request shared sacrifice on your behalf," Spurback said.
After the meeting, Choolokian conceded that he and other council members did dine out Monday evening and that they planned to submit their bill for reimbursement to the city.
"If anybody knows the hours the city council puts in, I don't think it's too much to pay for a sandwich," Choolokian said in justifying the council's meal expenses.
Choolokian noted that over the years all three organizations in question have received a total of about $1 million in city property and bed tax revenue. He said that while he appreciated all the hard work those groups have done over the years, he said the city simply couldn't afford to continue to pick up the tab for them.
He added that with the money saved, the council majority intended to introduce new programs aimed at better serving the needs of all residents, including additional police enforcement on the streets.
Both Choolokian and Anderson said they wished the crowds were as large or as vocal during last year's budget deliberations, suggesting more public input was needed back then. Anderson noted that tough choices had to be made to address Dyster's "disaster budget" while protecting city jobs and not raising property taxes.
"It's not fun sitting up here," Anderson said.