Niagara Gazette — On Jan. 7 I had the honor of being named as chairman of the Niagara Falls City Council. As I accept the gavel from outgoing Chairman Sam Fruscione I want to thank Sam for his service to our city, for his leadership during a challenging 2012, and for the support he gave me throughout last year.
There are a lot of challenges facing our city this year and the most critical is the question of casino revenue. We could receive all the money owed us or zero dollars owed us as the arbitration process plays out. An added possible outcome of the arbitration is a ruling allowing private casino operation in the state and maybe Niagara Falls: “Las Vegas” gaming in the state or in Niagara Falls presents added challenges for our city. There’s nothing we can do to influence the arbitration process one way or the other, Niagara Falls is along for the ride and will have to live with the results.
The casino revenue impasse has forced city government to trim its budget and learn to live within its means. Because of this the 2012 city council worked as a team to hold the line on homeowner taxes while reducing business taxes. We held the line on city services and worked to set a tone for more accountable city spending now and into the future. With budgets tightening all the way from the kitchen table to every government level we have to learn to do more with less.
Bob Anderson, my respected fellow council member, has a favorite saying: “Many hands make for light work.” Good work becomes good results when the many hands join in a spirit of consistent cooperation. In 2013 our city council, the administration, and our residents are going to have to work cooperatively to meet the challenges that face Niagara Falls.