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By: Terri Kline
Niagara Falls Resident
I will tell you where they are not; employed by the City of Niagara Falls, compliments of our Administration and Council; with their poor spending and budgeting practices!
Understand that the population within the City of Niagara Falls has drastically decreased over the years. But one thing a decrease in population does not effect is the roads, sidewalks, trees, grass, etc.; which are still required to be maintained. Along with population decreases come abandoned properties that are no longer being maintained by the owners; that fall on the back of DPW.
So why does the city look like a 3rd world country; with its beautiful 5ft tall grass landscapes, garbage thrown through out the entire city, pot holes big enough to consume entire vehicles, and trees falling causing damage/injury from a gentle breeze?
DPW; across all departments within, highly rely’s on seasonal/temporary positions over the spring/summer/fall to maintain the city. Especially when retired positions go un-filled. After reviewing the last 9 budgets; our Administration and Council have decided to no longer budget temporary payroll for the last 2 calendar years; 2018 & 2019!
The only department that received any temporary payroll budget for these years is the Clean Community & S.W.E.E.T Team. Unfortunately, when other departments within DPW require additional staff to assist with maintenance; this pulls staff from the Clean Community department temporary staffing thus resulting in that department not staying on top of their duties. DPW is put into a place to triage the requests ensuring they are being completed by importance/public safety; painting road lines, removing a tree that could cause damage/injury vs cutting a private property that has been neglected.
Currently there are 2100 grass/garbage complaints that are in line for attention. But with no staff to address these requests, the city becomes in the state it currently is in. Our Clean Community Department can tag anywhere from 30-50 houses a day for various violations; but if there is not enough staff to come through after the 96 hour time frame, than the property remains an eye sore.
In addition to the lack of funding to DPW; I do believe we also have a management issue as well. Too many times, citizens of the city observe DPW workers parked for long periods of time in their vehicles, driving aimlessly through out the city, etc. I am not saying all DPW employees fall into this issue! But in every department there are always a few employees that fail to work up to their full potential. We need to ensure that proper management is being completed on all employees to ensure our tax dollars are being used wisely.
The tax paying citizens of this city deserve better than what we are receiving in services! Administration and Council, get it together for the sake of our beautiful city!