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JULY 28 - AUGUST 04, 2015

City Streets a Mess as Dyster’s Attention Turns to Cricket Field

By Mike Hudson

JULY 28, 2015

Roads are dangerous at Portage and Buffalo Ave,
There are things more important than the roads we travel in our cars. They are the roads we travel in our soul. And nothing feeds the soul more than a taxpayer-funded concert. Mayor Paul Dyster, more than any other mayor we ever had, is mindful of what is really important to the artist in him and you.
While the city groans under the weight of despair, Mayor Dyster has two separate budgets: the hard knocks budget of taxpayer grief and the fun joy ride casino spending which he alone enjoys!

According to the state’s Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments, property owners in Mayor Paul Dyster’s Niagara Falls pay the highest taxes in the state, at a rate of more than 20 percent of actual value.

On top of that, revenue from the city’s share of the money generated by the Seneca Niagara Casino during Dyster’s tenure has amounted to nearly $200 million.

So why do the city’s streets look as though they’d been shelled by artillery?

Portage Road is a disaster. Hyde Park Boulevard is dangerous, Lewiston Road is not for the faint of heart and every intersection along Niagara Street is in need of repair. On Rainbow Boulevard, very near to Dyster’s beloved traffic island, where he wants to erect a statue dedicated to something called the Boundary Waters Treaty that will cost in excess of $100,000, there is a pothole so enormous that you can amuse yourself all day watching the cars swerve to avoid it.

The city has 450 miles of streets, many lined with whole neighborhoods of “zombie houses” no one has lived in for years. City Councilman Bob Anderson said recently that those 450 miles of streets are marked by more than 500 orange cones, alerting motorists to hazardous road conditions.

"The roads are brutal,” said Anderson. “I have been to third world countries during my time in the military that have better roads than we do.”

The amount of money being paid to those who have brought legal action against the city for damages due to the poor condition of the streets is unknown, since legal matters are always discussed in executive session by the city Council, but the number is substantial.

Councilman Glenn Choolokian, who is challenging Dyster in the Democratic mayoral primary, said the condition of the city’s streets is a disgrace.

“We must get a thousand calls, everybody talks about the roads. We have no choice but to run day-to-day operations. You have a mayor that doesn’t run day-to-day operations. The train station, all the guts and glory, is not what we need right now. Potholes, roads, and sidewalks have to be done."

Two years ago, Dyster budgeted the exact same amount, $650,000, for work on his beloved Ice Pavilion hockey rink as he did for street repairs citywide.

And the $44 million he’s blowing on the new train station would be more than enough to have every street in the city brought back to new condition.

But Dyster, the self-described man of “big ideas,” generally can’t be bothered petty details.

Providing safe roadways for people to drive on is a fundamental responsibility of municipal government. It is as basic as, say, providing running water.

Dyster has been derelict in his duty and shirked responsibility in order to fund rock concerts, failed winter festivals and, most recently, a cricket field.

When it comes to something as unsexy as street maintenance though, his performance can be summed up in a single word.



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