KLINE: Niagara Falls Residents Fighting Back

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By: Terri Kline

Community Organizer

I am a proud resident of the City of Niagara Falls and have lived here since 1989.

A year ago I had relocated to North Carolina due to my husband being in the Armed Forces. We originally planned to stay there, but ended up making the decision to come back home to Niagara Falls.

The reason why I felt it necessary to organize these protests against the proposed tax increase and garbage user fee is because the residents in Niagara Falls deserve better!

Take a look around! Most residents across the city are barely making ends meet as it is. The last thing they need is another tax.

At the end of the day this comes down to accountability. The residents didn’t carelessly spend over $200 Million with largely nothing to show for it other than some concerts, a train station, some artwork, new playgrounds and colored benches.

The $200 Million did not create a multitude of jobs or provide pay raises to your average residents. Although, let’s be honest, it did create raises for almost everyone at City Hall.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

Residents shouldn’t have to live in a city where you can’t drive down a road without having to doge a pothole. Similarly, residents shouldn’t have to live in a city where people are afraid to walk around certain neighborhoods after a certain time of day. It’s not as if these are unrealistic requests.

Residents should no longer pay for the poor spending decisions of Mayor Paul Dyster and the City Council. The cycle of “we spend and you pay for it” finally needs to come to an end.

We all know the garbage “user fee” has nothing to do with garbage. It has everything to do with increasing revenue towards the insane $13.9 Million deficit that the Dyster administration has put us in.

In fact, none of the tax increases proposed by the Dyster administration should be enacted. There should be no increase in resident’s property taxes. There should be no garbage “user fee” (hidden tax). There should be no reassessment.

The deficit was not caused by the residents, so why should we be the ones footing the bill? That seemed to be a question largely unanswered at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Before increasing property taxes, enacting a garbage “user fee,” or doing a reassessment, the Dyster administration and City Council need to do some housekeeping of their own and cut the fat, so to speak, from City Hall by eliminate unnecessary positions and exploring pay cuts for others. After that is done, and only then, should there be proposed taxes on the residents.

As for the comments made by Council Chairman Andrew Touma, this is not “YOUR city!” This is OUR city! Your position is to represent the residents of Niagara Falls because without us there is no city. That’s great that you want to do “what’s best for YOUR city” but that also includes the residents as well.

I have no intentions to stop protesting, obtaining signatures, or going to the media until this tax increase situation is resolved. I hope that all my fellow citizens are going to be heard and support me in this endeavor. Enough is enough!

Our next protest against the garbage “user fee” and other proposed tax increases will be prior to the  “Let’s Talk about Budget” meeting on Wednesday, September 26th, at 6:00 pm, outside of the John Duke Center on Hyde Park Blvd.

Bring your voices! Bring your signs! Let’s show this administration that the residents of Niagara Falls have had enough and will not pay for their mistakes any longer!

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