by Ann Williams – Committee to Stop the Reassessments & Continuous Tax Increases


Too many of our elected officials have found the ways and means to put their own interests above those whom they swore to serve and protect. The profligate spending over the past eight plus years is disgraceful and something has to give! Like the wolf in with the lambs, they have taken and taken and taken until there is no more for the taxpayers to give. The wealth has been drained away from the people.

Mayor Paul Dyster and some City Council members have misused and mismanaged our money for many years. Once again, they want to balance the budget on the backs of taxpayers through a huge tax increase called “reassessments” or the casino money will have to be diverted to the general fund. We, the taxpayers, say divert OUR casino money to the general fund. We refuse to continue to be used as our elected officials’ credit card.

Mayor Dyster and Council Chairman Andrew Touma, with the support of Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti, want to reassess the taxpayers in order to fund their extravagant spending. Well we say NO!

We cannot afford our elected officials and their refusal to put the taxpayers first and rein in their out-of-control spending. A perfect example of their refusal to cut expenses is the recent resolution to cut health insurance for any future city council members at a savings to taxpayers of $23,000 per council member. The resolution passed 3-2 but Mayor Dyster vetoed it and the City Council failed to get the four votes needed to override the Mayor’s veto.

The residents and business owners of Niagara Falls are well-informed about reassessments. We are so well-informed about reassessments that the decision to participate in the reassessment process by placing “Stop the Reassessment” signs on our lawns was simple. In fact, we are so well informed that, once again, we have united for one common goal, “stop the reassessments” – a huge tax increase on the already highest taxed residents and business owners in the United States.

We know that a citywide reassessment was recommended to raise revenue. City officials estimate the increase in assessments would add up to $112 million. We know that a mere increase of $10,000 in assessed value would raise our taxes $465.40 per year and an increase of $20,000 in assessed value would raise our taxes $930.08.

Even City Assessor James Bird admitted that taxes would go up at a citizen forum on August 18, 2016. After repeatedly telling the taxpayers in attendance that a reassessment is not a tax increase, he then informed us that his taxes would go up. After doing the math, it appears that his assessed value would increase by almost 11%.

Where is Mayor Dyster? He has been silent on the “reassessments” since he first announced that it needs to be done on November 8, 2015, just five days after the Mayoral election. The residents and business owners are outraged by this proposed ‘hidden tax increase” called “reassessments” and he hasn’t said one word. Why have we not heard from him?

Where is Governor Cuomo? Why is he allowing the people of Niagara Falls to suffer the consequences of the profligate spending by our elected officials? Why has he not tried to help the people of Niagara Falls? It appears that he does not care about the people of Niagara Falls because if he did he would return the 75% of the casino revenue that he takes from us every year. Again, the wealth has been drained away from the people.

Senator Rob Ortt is the only elected official who has shown that he cares about the highest taxed residents and business owners in the United States. He proposed legislation, which he calls the Niagara Revitalization Plan, which would reverse the state and local split of the casino revenue. This proposal would give Niagara Falls 75 percent of the casino revenue, leaving the state with 25 percent. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Governor Cuomo will return the money to the people to whom the money belongs.

We call on Mayor Paul Dyster and City Council members Kristen Grandinetti, Ezra Scott, Jr., Kenny Tompkins, Andrew Touma and Charles Walker to stop the proposed “reassessment” on the already over-taxed residents and business owners of Niagara Falls.

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