Niagara Gazette

Opinion

August 15, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Councilman Fruscione lays out accomplishments, talks Hamister project

Niagara Gazette — Primary day will be here soon and I would like to take a moment to note some of the programs and initiatives that I’ve been a part of while serving on the city council. But first I want to briefly comment on the Hamister hotel proposal.

I have to correct the notion that the council “had the contract in their hands since February of 2012.” The fact is that from February 2012 until July 3, 2013, we had nothing in writing in any way, shape or form. Please read that carefully: nothing. There was no proposed document until July 3. On July 3 we received the pages that you can read on the city’s website. You are able to view the document because the city council posted it in the interest of transparency. Visit www.niagarausa.org and see the upper left hand of the homepage.

At the April 15 city council meeting Mayor Paul Dyster said — in response to a question from a council member — that he was nearing completion on the Hamister agreement and that he would have that agreement within a month for the council to review. The mayor’s month became nearly three months with no communication from him in between.

All of that being said the city council would like to move forward for the good of our taxpayers and downtown development. We have concerns with this proposal but the proposal could be realized with guarantees that protect the taxpayers.

The city council is the legislative branch of government and is not empowered to initiate development or guide the city’s day-to-day business. We do have the responsibility of monitoring the city budget and approving contractual obligations. To this end we will continue to seek a development project that will enhance our downtown while serving the best interests of Niagara Falls. Allow me to close out my comments on the development proposal by stating that I trust the mayor and USA Niagara will respond positively to the council’s recommendation to seek common ground.

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