Niagara Gazette


December 10, 2012

GUEST VIEW: City better off budgeting out USA Niagara

Niagara Gazette — On Nov. 28, the Niagara Falls City Council presented its proposed 2013 city budget.

This budget year was exceptionally challenging and time constrained. I would like to thank Council Chairman Sam Furcione for his confidence and support for letting me put together our initial draft of the 2013 Niagara Falls City Budget. I would like to also thank Council member Robert Anderson once again for having faith in my budget experience.

I would like to thank my council colleagues: Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker for their valuable input and assistance. With a record-setting 150 amendments we had a unanimous 5-0 vote on all but one amendment. Certainly this sets a record for unanimity and cooperation on the part of any Niagara Falls City Council.

The council’s 2013 spending recommendation reduced the mayor’s 2013 budget by over $4 million, contains no tax increase for homeowner or business, retains city services, keeps most of the jobs the mayor eliminated and creates a $700,000 contingency fund. That contingency fund will be used in part to support costs associated with fire and police protection. Public safety remains, as it should, a top priority.

By ending the city subsidy to USA Niagara we were able to save $3.1 million. I want to note that over the past 10 years our city taxpayers have supported USA Niagara to the tune of over $30 million. It’s time for this subsidy to end and for those funds to be earmarked for city services and operation.

While some have boasted of USA Niagara successes, those success stories never include obvious program failures such as: the Third Street renovation and re-design that cost millions of dollars. The recent removal of the Third Street “bump-outs” was the waving of the white flag that surrendered any notion that the project helped the street; the downtown signage program has been studied and studied again for several years and has gone nowhere; the NCCC culinary school looks great, but scrubbed from the history books was the effort of two current city council members Sam Furcione and Robert Anderson, who worked hard to move the school from the hotel it was scheduled to occupy and over to the Rainbow Center. Those council members where sharply criticized for recommending the Rainbow Center location, but today everyone agrees that the acquisition of the Cordish Rainbow Center was the positive turning point of the project; the Holiday Market was brought downtown by USA Niagara at a cost of a half million dollars and we have no reliable accounting of that expenditure; the conference center is not a convention center and local tourism professionals will say, off the record, that our city needs a convention center, one capable of hosting live entertainment along with events such as boat, home and car shows; the snowplow challenged paving stones on Old Falls Street were imported from Italy and require costly maintenance as they sink and rise in the ground. This street design didn’t take the needs of the downtown and our Western New York winter into account just as the Third Street “bump-out” design failed to address traffic safety and parking.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Moreland panel comes back to haunt Cuomo Let's get this straight. That was Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the microphone in the Syracuse radio station, Dec. 4, 2013, explaining the need for reactivating the anti-corruption panel called the Moreland Commission. "The commission clearly has the legal authority to look at anything they want to look at, including the governor, the attorney-general, the comptroller, etc.," the governor told the listening audience.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: A taxing time for Lewiston town officials It's disappointing to learn that a seemingly financially sound community like the Town of Lewiston now finds itself facing 2015 budget crunch that could, of all things, lead to the creation of a new town tax.

    July 31, 2014

  • NIA Krause mug 073114 GUEST VIEW: Arnold represents a fresh start for local Republicans Two years ago, as chairman of the city of Niagara Falls Republicans, the committee and I broke from the traditional policy of the county republicans of endorsing state Sen. George Maziarz for reelection.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Immigration issue belongs to everyone I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my digital edition of the Washington Post yesterday and found something that I think captures part of the dilemma America faces right this minute; it's a simple question: Who are we, or to put it another way, what do we really stand for?

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: It's time the U.S. stopped giving aid to Israel When you see some of the atrocities that Israel has committed in Gaza, including last week's bombing of a United Nations school that was being used as a civilian emergency shelter, you should really wonder why we count them as an ally and why we devote so much of our financial and political resources to the scoundrels.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: A cupcake gets the Niagara Beautification Commission spotlight Not a cupcake per se, but a cute shop in LaSalle operated by a "sweet" lady who is a real dynamo when it comes to running a business.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: Isaiah 61 Project breathes new life into city Friday was a big day for the Isaiah 61 Project. It may have been a bigger day for the Falls.

    July 28, 2014

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug [Duplicate] GLYNN: A key factor in luring the convention A natural wonder in the nation's oldest state park isn't the lone factor for selecting Niagara Falls as a convention site.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Regional poetry and sad realities If that isn't (or wasn't) poetry, I don't know what is! I'm referring to the self-satisfied, sluggish trot of ice chunks emanating from Lake Erie in early May 2014 -- sauntering, it felt, along the lovely Niagara.

    July 27, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Pleased with increased police patrols It was good to see the Niagara Falls Police Department join forces with other local law enforcement agencies in response to a recent uptick in violent crime.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page