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Dyster's Tree Counting Consultants Squander $265,000 on Nothing Much

By Mike Hudson

Gee, for $265,000 we could have not only inventoried the trees and monkey bars but cut the grass and cleaned out the weeds.

The photos above show John Daly Boulevard. The median, with its trees and "flowers," is an overgrown mess. In fact, we have never seen it this bad before. As the tourist season is in full bloom, a major entranceway into the city/tourism corridor is in inexcusable condition. No money? Not even a little bit for this work? This goes to the heart of how Mayor Dyster has managed the city, wasted money, spent on the wrong projects, hired consultants etc. while letting basic maintenance like this go by the boards. All of this within the shadow of the casino. He just spent $57,000 as the city's share of a parks study but somehow cannot spend a few thousand to clean up the mess at the very gateway to the city.

WONDER OF THE WORLD? Perhaps. But what we wonder is why the city can't hand one of its many hundreds of employees a weed whacker and send them to the corner of Rainbow and John B. Daley boulevards and let them have at this overgrown mess. A private homeowner would be fined for having such a disgusting display in their front yard.

Arithmomania is the name psychiatrists give to a form of obsessive compulsive disorder that forces sufferers to count their actions or objects in their surroundings. Sufferers from this crippling disorder have a strong need to count objects in their surroundings, such as tiles on the floor or ceiling, the number of lines on the highway, or even the number of times one breathes or blinks.

The brain-based anxiety disorder causes considerable suffering and impairment, and can be the cause of long-term unemployment, unless of course the sufferer happens to work for Bergman Associates Inc., the consulting firm hired by Mayor Paul Dyster at a cost of $265,000 to count the number of trees, swing sets, monkey bars, trash cans and other things that may or may not include birds, bees, flowers, cracks in the sidewalks and carelessly discarded cigarette butts in the city's 28 parks and open areas.

The arithmomaniacs at Bergman Associates have been counting things around the city for a year now and, perhaps, when they're done counting trees they can start on the number of empty and discarded crack cocaine containers that can be found in shocking quantity along the sidewalks in the East Side neighborhood.

That would keep them busy for years, and now that Dyster finally has his casino cash, it'll be burning a hole in his pocket.

Why a city as financially bereft as Niagara Falls would choose to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars counting the trees in its parks system when it obviously cannot afford to keep the trees properly trimmed or even mow its many lawns, is a curiosity at the very least.

Much of the study was paid for by Greenway money, but $57,000 of the study which is expected to be about two inches thick - just paper - not a tree or a piece of park equipment-- comes from the taxpayers of Niagara Falls.



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

JUN 18, 2013