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Mayor Dyster DOES have a casino revenue spending plan: spend until the money is gone!

January 28, 2016 Anna Howard 5

Last week the city reported that their share of casino revenue had dropped once again. While the city’s handle of the annual slot drop peaked around $22 million in recent years the new annual casino revenue reality is now about $5 million less…and dropping still.

The city’s announcement of the tumbling numbers drew near audible gasps as reported in a Niagara Gazette article that featured quotes from the council chair, the city controller and a member of the council’s Finance Review Panel. read more

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Underground Railroad Interpretive Center casino funds defy transparency

January 28, 2016 Anna Howard 0

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Five years after it was due to open, the Underground Railroad Interpretive Center on Whirlpool remains a mystery as to maintenance expenditures, exhibits and how much was really spent [and will be spent] to complete it.
Niagara Falls – The Underground Railroad Commission has been receiving $350,000 per year in dedicated casino revenue since 2009. At $350,000 per year for seven years that’s a total of $2,450,000. The money is set aside annually out of the casino revenue account to support and promote the Underground Railroad Interpretive Center. The center was supposed to open its doors five years ago but failed to do so after the project director was mysteriously removed from his city hall job by Mayor Paul Dyster. read more

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Dyster administration has little interest in revealing casino account growth

January 28, 2016 Anna Howard 0

While great attention has been paid to the condition of the city’s casino revenue account, virtually nothing has been asked, much less revealed, as to how the city is using the interest earned by the many millions of casino revenue dollars that have been received and banked over the years.

The Reporter has repeatedly called for the city to post all information regarding the casino interest account and how it’s been spent or invested. After all those are taxpayer dollars. So far our request for simple and straight forward fiscal transparency has fallen on deaf ears. We’re not surprised. Our repeated recommendation that the entire city budget be posted in real time on the city website has met with similar stony silence. read more

Train station set to open with one tenant, no museum here?

January 27, 2016 Mike Hudson 40
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Niagara Falls has built a 20,000 square foot train station for a city that gets on average 64 passengers per day…. The costs are expected to far exceed the revenue generated. This rendering by Wendel – the designers of the station – accurately reflect that this is going to be a big mainly empty building – which taxpayer will pay to heat and maintain.

Niagara Falls – With the city’s new train station and Underground Railroad Heritage Museum ready to open by the end of May, a couple of questions linger.

How do you open a history museum when not a single artifact has been acquired or display fabricated? Despite the fact that the city’s Underground Railroad Commission has been given $2.45 million in casino cash, it is unknown what – if anything – they have done with the money.

Other than issuing a preliminary report shortly after the formation of the commission that failed to establish any unequivocal link between the Underground Railroad and what is now the City of Niagara Falls, little has been heard of the shadowy organization. read more

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An interview with Sam Fruscione: Correct about phony Hamister deal

January 27, 2016 2
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Sam Fruscione was right after all…..

It was the summer of 2013, almost three years ago, and the city of Niagara Falls was in the midst of a crisis. According to the Buffalo television stations and local newspapers quoting Mayor Paul Dyster, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, one man was standing in the way on an economic revitalization that would turn the city around once and for all.

That man, comically enough, it seems now, was popular former city Council chairman Sam Fruscione.

The affable Fruscione had served on the Council for years, providing the leadership for a dissident majority that questioned Dyster administration initiatives and fought against the mayor’s annual tax increases. Along with former councilmen Bob Anderson and Glenn Choolokian, Fruscione provided effective opposition. read more

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New Automated Parking System on Goat Island Stiffs Senior Citizens

January 27, 2016 James Hufnagel 0

Whether exposing the crooked Glynn Maid of the Mist monopoly, criticizing the Niagara Falls State Park “Landscape Improvements” plan which ruined Three Sisters Islands, sounding the alarm on the Parks Police barracks which was slated for the edge of the scenic Niagara Gorge, rallying the public against the demolition of the 1864 Carriage Barn of DeVeaux Woods State Park, documenting how the south Robert Moses Parkway upgrade serves to further isolate the city from its waterfront and tourist assets, or even complaining about closed restrooms at Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole State Parks during the off-season, the Niagara Falls Reporter has served as the de facto watchdog of State Parks for over a decade. read more

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Council meeting “walk on” resolutions come in several sizes and shapes

January 22, 2016 Anna Howard 1

The Reporter was pleased to see freshman council member Ezra Scott decline to support Mayor Dyster’s attempt to walk on a surprise resolution at the recent council meeting. The resolution aimed to tap the city till for up to $75,000 to support the hosting of a meeting of the Great Lakes Council Initiative. The mayor sits on the board of that organization.

We give high marks to Mr. Scott in recognition of his reluctance to spend taxpayer cash on short notice with insufficient information. That being said we can assure the councilman that this won’t be the last time he’s presented with late or deficient resolutions and requests for expenditures. read more

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Was City’s sale of Chilton Ave house transparent? Don’t bid on it!

January 21, 2016 Anna Howard 34

There’s a mystery brewing on historic Chilton Avenue and several community activists have expressed interest in getting to the bottom of the puzzle’s particulars at the January 13 Planning Board meeting.

The city, under the guidance of Seth Piccirillo, director of Mayor Paul Dyster’s Community Development Department, sold 631 Chilton Avenue to Develop Niagara LLC for $500. The remarkably low selling price has people questioning the deal. While the Planning Board signed off on the property transfer the final approval of the council is now needed to close the purchase. read more

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Anello questions the Dyster administration; is he getting stonewalled for his efforts?

January 20, 2016 Anna Howard 35

Vince Anello is a former Niagara Falls mayor and a current radio talk show host. He is also, by the nature of his time as mayor and councilman, a consummate student of municipal government. And for that reason he has  become persona non grata with the Dyster administration.

On his December 31 show the former mayor explained in a frustrated tone how the current mayor has apparently decided that he’s someone to be ignored. Mr. Anello explained that Mayor Dyster, “continues to take shots at me…I’ve been out of office for eight years now…none of my calls are returned.” read more

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Midtown Inn, mecca for prostitutes, sex offenders, torched by arsonist

January 7, 2016 Mike Hudson 5
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The Midtown Inn on Niagara St. is a rooming house where arsonists allegedly started a fire.

The Midtown Inn.

For many residents on the city’s Southeast side, the ramshackle rooming house held a terror that would rival that of the Bates Motel, featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1963 tale of terror, “Phycho.”

The inn was a target of controversy in 2009 when the New York State Division of Parole began placing level 2 and level 3 sex offenders there after their release from prison. At one point, sexual predators were housed in the joint, which is located in an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood, 1,500 feet of the city’s Niagara Street Elementary School and less than 200 feet from a church operated day care center. read more

City Taxpayers Footing Bill for Scores of $100,000 Salaries Here

December 31, 2015 Mike Hudson 31

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One hundred thousand dollars.

It’s a lot of money anywhere, but in a place like Niagara Falls, where money’s tight and jobs are scarce, it can be considered a fortune.

In a city where the per capita income for all residents is just $20,327 and the average household scrapes by on $31,531, according to the website City-Data.com, $100,000 is the stuff that dreams are made out of.

A report by the New York State Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments shows Niagara Falls to be the most highly taxed municipality in New York State in proportion to the value of the property being taxed. read more

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In Niagara Falls, home of big government the rich get richer while the poor get poorer

January 1, 1970 Mike Hudson 0
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In Niagara Falls the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – and In Niagara Falls – the rich are the government workers. With their high pay and pension padding, they form an elite rulership.

Bad luck comes in threes, they say, and for residents of Niagara Falls this cliché has been visited with a vengeance. The perennially cash strapped city has both the highest crime rate and the highest taxes per capita of any municipality in New York State, and is run by a disproportionately large number of administrators who make more than $http://southbuffalonews.com00,000 annually.

The city boasts one of the best known tourist attractions on the face of the earth, the majestic falls themselves, and is the site of the Seneca Niagara Casino which, until recently, has contributed an average of $20 million a year into the city’s coffers. read more