With a city that is struggling in so many areas, from the closing of so many businesses, factories, Catholic schools and churches and with so many groups struggling for funding, no group is more important than the other. And the truth is there must be some separation and the city of Niagara Falls cannot continue to supplement every group that shows up at the doors of city hall.
I believe all these groups and organizations are very important and work very hard and do an excellent job but it should not be up to the taxpayers to fund them.
I believe if the administration and my fellow colleagues continue the reckless spending of the casino money, eventually a huge burden will be placed on the remaining taxpayers for many years to come.
As an elected official I have to look at how my vote will affect the families of Niagara Falls of today, of tomorrow, and especially how it will affect the families and the taxpayers of the future.
That is why I voted against the $150,000 for the Community Missions and I was also planning to vote against the $40,000 for the blues festival but the item was pulled from the agenda by the mayor, for now, because of the lack of support.
I also voted against the $380,000 added cost for the new garbage and recycling program for now because I believe the administration should have had all these things worked out in the original contract. But I am glad the administration took the advice of the Niagara Falls City Council and added the pickup of leaves, clippings and also over 400 businesses were added to the new contract. There were over 1,800 letters sent out by the administration to local businesses stating that their garbage service would no longer be offered, so I believe this number of 400 businesses should be much larger.
The council continues to get calls from citizens on many different concerns about this program. A public hearing is now scheduled for Monday (July 14) about a change to the city of Niagara Falls garbage ordinance. I truly believe this public hearing should have taken place before anything was amended to this new contract.
I have always stated that I fully support a new garbage and recycling program, but because it seems that we are not a 100 percent ready to move forward, there is nothing wrong with taking a step back and add the things that might be missing to help make this a successful program.
Glenn A. Choolokian is a Niagara Falls City Councilmember and lives in Niagara Falls with his wife and two children.