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OCT 07- OCT 14, 2014

Wasteful Spending Has to Stop!

By Glenn Choolokian
Niagara Falls Councilman

October 07, 2014

At last week’s city council meeting the council voted 4-1 to give $1.5 million per year for five years ($7.5 million total) of our casino cash to the operation of the Niagara Falls Conference Center and Old Falls St.

The council was wrong to support the mayor’s request to give the money to USA Niagara, which in turn pays Global Spectrum to manage the conference center and Old Falls St.

For the record I was the lone “no” vote.

I was also the lone no vote when the city council voted two weeks earlier to give $500,000 of casino cash to the Isaiah 61 house rehabilitation program.

The mayor and his four supporting members of the council supported these casino cash awards without so much as a one-page explanation as to how the money was going to be used by Global Spectrum or Isaiah 61.

Things in city government have gotten so bad and are so out of control with regard to spending that the administration and supporting council members don’t even ask the simplest question before handing over millions of your dollars.

The state forced casino gaming on us. Then they gave our (10,000 person capacity) convention center to the Seneca Nation. After that they built us a small (3,000 capacity) “conference center” and now they are demanding that we chip in to pay the conference center operating costs.

It’s a crazy recipe for disaster the way the Mayor and state continue to sell us short on casino cash (giving us 25 percent of the state’s 25 per cent on the slots and zero on the table games) while finding more and more ways to tell us how we have to give our casino cash away.

We already give 26.5 percent of our casino funds to the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, Niagara Falls School District, Niagara Falls Airport and the Underground Railroad Interpretive Center. Now we have to give a yearly $1.5 million to the conference center and another $4 million a year to Albany so they can run an economic development contest for consultants studying how to “fix” our downtown.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the Dyster administration has set their sights on making our hometown the poverty program capital of New York State. Angry residents recently worked hard to stop the mayor’s planned subsidized housing at the former 39th Street School but the Dyster administration recently passed the South Junior and the Horizons projects that will bring yet more subsidized housing to town.

I am immediately calling for a transparent casino cash-spending plan and I am recommending a casino cash-spending moratorium be put in place until such a plan is written and shared with city residents.

I also call for a moratorium to be put in place regarding additional subsidized housing plans or projects currently under consideration or review in our city.

The Dyster administration is spending our city into debt and the only economic development projects it has on the table are subsidized housing schemes where the developers make a fortune and the residents are left with the problems.

The wasting of our casino cash and the poverty planning has to be stopped.





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