Spanbauer Getting Ready to Take His Seat on Niagara Falls City Council

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John Spanbauer, Niagara Falls City Council Member as of January 1, 2020.


By: Tony Farina

There will be a new mayor in town come the new year in Niagara Falls, and there will also be a new majority on the City Council as Republican John Spanbauer joins incumbent Republicans Chris Voccio and Kenny Tompkins (re-elected) on the panel, giving the GOP a 3 – 2 edge.

It is the first crack at politics for Spanbauer, a retired college administrator, but he says he’s looking forward to the challenge of trying to help the Cataract City overcome the numerous financial problems it faces.

“I’m actually looking forward to it,” said Spanbauer this week as he gets ready to face the music as an elected official for the first time in his life.

“I’m trying to do my homework and getting advice from past and present councilmembers as part of my preparation,” said the thoughtful new lawmaker.  “I think it should be exciting.”

Spanbauer says he likes the idea of being a part of a new beginning and he says the new mayor, Robert Restaino, has said he will have an open-door policy with councilmen, an idea that Spanbauer believes will help form a spirit of collaboration.

Perhaps the most interesting new dynamic that Spanbauer brings to the table is the thought that he’s a one-term lawmaker, not interested in currying political favors but in doing what’s in the best interests of the city and its taxpayers.

“I won’t be worried about politics,” says Spanbauer, suggesting he won’t be holding a finger up in the air to test the political wind before making his voting decisions.  

“I intend to vote for what I think will help the city, and I don’t have a political agenda,” says Spanbauer, an attitude that could help lawmakers finally deal with some of the tough political decisions that they have avoided in the past.

Spanbauer says he will have an outline of his goals in an editorial he will submit to this newspaper before the new year.

And Spanbauer, like the rest of the community, will likely get his first look at the new mayor’s team, expected to be announced on Friday, December 20.

Spanbauer realizes the work won’t be done easily or quickly to repair the city, but he’s gearing up to make an all-out effort to help run the city like a business and not spend more than is taken in.  Structural budget balance may be a long way off, but Spanbauer is sounding the right notes in the eyes of many.


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