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The People Have Spoken in the Council Race: More Dyster, More Taxes, More Subsidized Development

By Frank Parlato

Charles Walker
Andrew Touma
Mayor Paul Dyster
Kristen Grandinetti and Walker

On Election Day, the people of Niagara Falls decided to elect three council members who will give Mayor Paul A. Dyster a majority on the council starting Jan. 1.

By law, the five-member council must approve, by majority vote, any and all spending by the mayor.

The trio of lawmakers include incumbents Charles Walker and Kristen Grandinetti, and newcomer Andrew Touma. The three ran on a platform of solidarity, posing in a campaign picture labeled "The Three Musketeers."

These three are seen as likely to approve most, if not all, spending proposals by the mayor. They were endorsed by him and in turn endorsed his major ideas during the campaign.

Samuel F. Fruscione, a two-term council member andmember of the old majority who opposed much of Dyster's spending plans and even halted Dyster's proposal to raise residential property taxes last year by 8.3 percent, has been roundly defeated and sent home.

Three Republican candidates, who also offered various degrees of independence, were also handily defeated.

According to the Tax Foundation of Washington, D. C., Niagara County has the second highest property tax rates in the USA. Niagara Falls has the highest property tax rates in Niagara county making it among the highest taxed cities in America.

Also, according to the Tax Foundation, New York State residents are the most highly taxed citizens in the country.

By electing a council that appears to thoroughly agree with Dyster that spending more public money is the solution to many of the problems of a city that enjoys among the highest taxes in the nation, the voters, have said, yes, they are willing to pay higher taxes and abide more government, in order to support the taxpayer-subsidized vision Dyster has for this city.

From a new train station, already millions over budget that few will use, to a near empty culinary arts center, a government subsidized hotel by the Hamister Group, a government subsidized-redevelopment of the Rainbow Centre Mall, Dyster's development plans include taxpayer subsidy and governmental control.

For the city that possesses perhaps the greatest natural hydro power in the world, along with one of the world's greatest tourist destinations, yet is broke, has a shrinking population, high crime, and is among the highest taxed cities in the country, the people here have chosen to elect politicians who say the solution to the city's problems are more government subsidies for developers.

"I think Niagara Falls is poised on the verge of ... transformational redevelopment," Dyster told the Buffalo News.

By casting their votes for a Dyster majority, the voters will soon see what transformations more subsidies and higher taxes will bring.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Nov 12, 2013