Tax & Spend Dyster Offers Huge Pay Increases + 8 New Positions

by Ann Williams

And Once Again,

He Expects Us to Pay for it Through Tax Rate Increases & Looming Reassessments

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Committee to Stop the Reassessments & Continuous Tax Increases

Mayor Paul Dyster is yet again proposing huge pay increases for mayoral appointees and the creation of eight new positions in his 2017 proposed budget. Eight more new positions for a city whose population is steadily declining and is currently half of what it used to be?

Huge pay increases, thousands of dollars in stipends, eight new positions, $1.90 per thousand tax rate increase for businesses and his desperate plan for the huge tax increase called reassessments as soon as he can find the $1 million he needs to do it, is an insult to every taxpayer in this city.

In a Niagara Gazette article dated October 10, 2016, Mayor Dyster tried to defend the pay increases and stipends. “Failure to pay a competitive salary,” he said, results in a drop off of top-level talent.

Top-level talent? Give us a break! He has been using that line as an excuse to pay his appointees huge salaries for over eight years now and we do not buy it. Niagara Falls taxpayers are some of the best and brightest around and we are not fooled by the nonsense he is trying to feed us.

In that same article Mayor Dyster said, “What I am asking for are the resources necessary to manage the city of Niagara Falls in an effective and competent way.” Effective and competent way? He has been using that line as an excuse for over eight years now as well, and again we do not buy it.

In an October 1, 2016 Niagara Gazette article, Mayor Dyster said, “We can’t give you champagne if all you want to pay for is beer.”

All we want to pay for is beer? We, the taxpayers, are stunned that he had the audacity to make that statement. Mayor Dyster is out of touch with the very people he is supposed to represent and apparently does not know or care about what every taxpayer in this city knows so we will remind him. Mayor Dyster, we are the highest taxed city in the United States, and we have been paying for champagne but getting beer for years now and we will not tolerate it any longer.

The old scare tactic that services will have to be cut unless taxes are raised has been used for too many years and does not scare us anymore. We already do not get the services we should for the money we pay, and we cannot afford to continue to be forced to pay more.

Mayor Dyster, in that same article you try to defend your casino cash spending by suggesting, “The positive impact of the casino revenues we did receive will be felt for decades to come.”

Again, Mayor Dyster apparently does not know or care about what every taxpayer in this city knows, so we will remind him. Mayor Dyster, we are the highest taxed city in the United States. We have felt nothing but a negative impact reflected in our tax bills year after year after year. We have achieved this title while receiving millions upon millions of casino dollars, which you have spent on the most ridiculous of things and without any regard for the very people to whom the money belongs.

And now we have the most recent negative impact from Mayor Dyster’s spending of our casino dollars. A new train station that we did not want, did not need, and cannot afford. Mayor Dyster’s proposed 2017 Budget requires taxpayers to pay for the operation and maintenance of the empty train station, which also includes three new positions. Once again, the taxpayers will be feeling the negative impacts of his casino revenue spending for decades to come.

In a Buffalo News article dated October 1, 2016, Dyster said there was a need for a reassessment, but it is an issue that needs to be looked at further. “If the financial restructuring board recommends the city to take an initiative they may offer grant funding in whole or in part,” added Dyster.

We are not stupid. We know that he did not stop his desperate attempt to reassess us. We know that he only delayed it until he can find the $1 million that he needs to implement a reassessment. We are not naïve and have known all along that he would try to use the financial restructuring board as an excuse to reassess us. We, the taxpayers, will not tolerate a reassessment anytime soon no matter who Mayor Dyster tries to use as his scapegoat to implement it.

Mayor Dyster, along with the support of City Council members Andrew Touma and Kristen Grandinetti, tried to raise our taxes through a reassessment. Hundreds of us attended the City Council meeting on September 6th to be heard on the issue of reassessments. Instead, we were greeted by Council Chairman Touma, who was caustic, defensive, and downright rude to the residents of this City.

In addition, timekeeper Councilwoman Grandinetti, who was given the job to try to silence every speaker as soon as their time was up even though they may have needed just another minute or two to finish their statement, was disgusting.

We have been at several City Council meetings over the years and have never seen anything like this. Touma and Grandinetti showed total disrespect for the very people who put them into office. However, in spite of their attempt to silence us we still spoke with a resounding NO! Thank goodness, Councilman Kenny Tompkins treated us with respect before the meeting, at the meeting and after the meeting. He has not forgotten that he was elected to represent the taxpayers. Thank you, Councilman Tompkins.

Tax increases through reassessments are the largest tax increase that we have ever and will ever receive at one time. We, the highest taxed residents and business owners in the United States, will not sit idly by and allow our elected officials to raise our taxes, yet again, through reassessments. We will not allow them to tax us out of our home and businesses. The only thing that should be reassessed is the misuse of our money by our elected officials.

We, the taxpayers, will continue to pay close attention to the 2017 budget process as to how ALL of our elected officials are spending our money and how they are voting on issues that impact us financially. When population decreases, so must city spending. They must open the budget and make the tough decisions. They must put a freeze on pay raises, hiring, and all unnecessary spending until we can dig ourselves out of the hole that Mayor Dyster has dug for us. “No more tax increases” must be a top priority for all elected officials as we are already taxed well beyond what we can afford.

We, the taxpayers, call on City Council members Kristen Grandinetti, Ezra Scott, Jr., Kenny Tompkins, Andrew Touma and Charles Walker to put a freeze on all pay raises, new positions, unnecessary spending, tax increases and any thought of a reassessment.

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