Last night's (Monday, May 12) council meeting was a bit frustrating for me, as I watched a number of questionable measures on Mayor Dyster's agenda pass with little or no serious debate.
I found myself confounded by the logic of the mayor and my fellow council members in pushing for the City of Niagara Falls to get into the State of New York Financial Restructuring Board.
To begin with, we are all elected officials who the citizens of Niagara Falls have placed their trust in to make important decisions for them and for their families. This is the reason that we all ran for public office and it is our responsibilities as elected officials to make these decisions.
The Financial Restructuring Board is also known as Help for Distressed Cities. How, with an average of $20 million a year coming to the city treasury from the Seneca Niagara casino, can the city of Niagara Falls be called a distressed city?
We are not a distressed city, we are a mismanaged city. With this being said the State of New York itself has been a financial disaster for many decades and this is still true today. Why would the mayor and my council colleagues look towards the state for advice when they can't even help themselves.
Another step in the wrong direction is the Housing Visions project. I don't support it nor do I support any similar projects. When did the city of Niagara Falls become so desperate for any kind of development that we would turn our once proud neighborhoods into government subsidized havens for the indigent?
The problem in Niagara Falls isn't that there is too little low-income housing it's that there is too much of it. We are maintaining an infrastructure of buildings, streets, sewers and water mains designed to meet the needs of a city population more than double what it is in 2014.
And then there's the "new and improved" Hard Rock Cafeacute; concert.
Two years ago the Niagara Falls City Council put an end to the foolish and reckless spending of hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on helping a billion dollar private corporation fund its live concert venue here. That corporation was the Hard Rock Cafe.
I guess Mayor Dyster and the majority of my colleagues have forgotten the not so long ago scare of the casino money crisis, and have started right where they left off, blowing our money faster than it comes in.
I could never understand why some of our elected officials cannot wait to fund private projects, private events and private dreams with taxpayer funds. Simply put, taxpayer money should not be used to fund private housing projects and rock music concerts.
When the Financial Restructuring Board gets here, I'll bet they say pretty much the same thing.