We told you so! City’s been abusing taxpayer casino cash all along!

Niagara Falls – My goodness, it’s been a frustrating experience, preaching about the wasteful spending habits of the Dyster administration over the past five years while no one listens. But, better late than never, people are finally noticing how Mayor Paul Dyster and council have abused casino revenue and delivered the city into deficit and debt.

On February 8 the city Financial Review Panel lectured the council and mayor as to the error of their casino revenue spending ways.

A February 11 Gazette guest view by Council Chairman Andrew Touma called for the city to adopt the recommendations of the finance panel…the panel whose recommendations the council ignored as the 2016 budget was passed without a public hearing in November.

A February 12 Niagara Gazette editorial took the mayor and council to task for plowing through the casino revenue like there’s no tomorrow.

So here’s the Dyster administration exactly where the Reporter said the Dyster administration was headed more than five years ago: Toward bankruptcy and higher taxes because mayor and council spent nearly $100 million in casino cash.

Frank Soda, a retired city school teacher and member of the city financial panel,  reported on February 8 that much of the casino revenue has been used for operational expenses – salaries, overtime, purchases etc. – that have nothing to do with the casino cash Albany prime directive of economic development.  It sounds like Mr. Soda has been reading the Reporter.

The Reporter’s been right all along but we don’t want a pat on the back for our observational powers. What we’d like to see is an admission of guilt from the mayor and council to the residents. After all, someone has to apologize for spending $100 million in taxpayer dollars and dumping the city into the dustbin of deficit and debt.

And we want a pledge from mayor and council that the wasteful spending will end…an end to raises, consultant fees, stipends, lawyer fees, gifts to agencies, public artwork, business grants, Isaiah 61, penguins, overtime and so on. We want to see the $100,000 salaries dialed back and an end to the “let the good times roll” attitude.

But we have little faith of any of that happening because this is the administration that built a $50 million courthouse featuring an annual debt payment of $2.4 million and a $44 million train station with no operating budget. Nothing short of an intervention from Albany or from the NYS Comptroller or from other appropriate agencies could fix what ails the city finances.

The mayor and his compliant council are in way over their heads and they have no one to blame but themselves. There’s but one meaningful question to be asked: How much of this wasteful spending was done deliberately and how much was done through incompetence?

The answer to that question, dear readers, lies at the bottom of a $100 million financial swamp.

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