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May 13 - May 21, 2014

City Delays Vote on Restructuring Board

By Tony Farina

May 13, 2014

The three were touted as the new majority, under the thrall of Mayor Paul Dyster. But, increasingly, Councilman Andy Touma has struck a note of independence. Councilmember Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker invariably support the Mayor's tax and spend agenda.

A decision by the City of Niagara Falls on the mayor's second bid to seek budgetary assistance from the state's new Financial Restructuring Board will have to wait at least two more weeks as the council pulled the item from the agenda at Monday's regularly scheduled meeting.

"We're going to wait and see the recommendations that come down from the [Restructuring] board for the City of Fulton," said Councilman Andrew Touma after Monday's session.  "I spoke to the mayor of Fulton earlier this week and he said the city expects to hear from the board shortly on their recommendations and we want to take a look at what they recommend.

Mayor Dyster had proposed seeking help from the state board last December but the council at that time voted unanimously against the idea.  Touma, who won election last November and began his term in January, supports the mayor's new request and has been pushing his fellow lawmakers to take a second look at the idea of enlisting the board's help in dealing with the city's perilous financial situation.

Fulton is on the state's list of distressed cities (like Niagara Falls) and was the first municipality last year to sign up for the governor's new board which is designed to help cities find the resources to pay their bills. Fulton is a small city (11,896) is the western part of Oswego County.

 "I think it is good business to have a resource to help us evaluate our operations," said Touma, a kind of swing vote since joining the council and clearly an independent thinker who voted along with Glenn Choolokian on Monday against a $40,000, city-sponsored Hard Rock concert for August.  Councilmember Bob Anderson abstained, meaning it lacked the necessary three votes despite 'yes' votes from Charles Walker and Kristen Grandinetti. 

The concert was billed as being supported by the Hard Rock, but Touma said he didn't have any information on just what kind of support would be forthcoming, and he thought $40,000 for an out-of-town act was steep given the plethora of home grown talent that is available.





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Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina