Excitement in the Air at City Hall as Restaino Takes the Helm; Voccio Leads New Council

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Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino

 

By: Tony Farina

The new mayor of Niagara Falls appears to be acting like a football coach getting his team ready for the season, moving around City Hall looking to get employees involved in his efforts to return the Cataract City to its glory days of the past.

“There’s definitely an air of excitement at City Hall,” says new Council President Chris Voccio who took over on the same day, Jan. 1, that Robert Restaino was sworn in as mayor, and who has been meeting regularly with the city’s new chief executive.

“I believe he will be a very involved partner with the council,” said Voccio, saying that would be a change of pace from the previous administration based on his experience.

Republicans now hold a 3 to 2 majority on the council, and with new GOP member John Spanbauer on board, there could be a consensus brewing to find ways to reduce costs as Voccio has long pressed for getting unions to the table and Spanbauer campaigned on the idea of running government like a business, not spending what’s not there.

 

City Councilman Chairman Chris Voccio.

 

Restaino is known to be working feverishly pushing his collaborative approach to involve neighboring villages, towns, cities, and the school board in helping to create a strong hub for the region, namely Niagara Falls.

Most observers expect announcements in the very near future on the fruits of those efforts, something the new mayor has been talking about for years and has been working on since he won the office in November.

What would certainly help kick-start the regional approach would be some kind of service agreement with the city’s major employer, the Seneca Nation, and the arrival of between $35 and $40 million in casino revenue sharing dollars to the city, some of which is already accounted for, but nonetheless badly needed.

Still no word from the Senecas but Restaino was known to be meeting regularly with Seneca Nation representatives from the moment he won the election and hopefully the money will begin flowing again soon.

For Niagara Falls, there is definitely a new feel around town, whether at local restaurants like the Como and Michael’s or at local coffee shops like Frankie’s Donuts.

The youthful Restaino excited everyone at City Hall during his swearing-in speech before a packed council chambers as he pledged to work hard to restore Niagara Falls to greatness and urging workers and citizens to join with him to get the job done.

It is definitely a new beginning for the world wonder city, home to the mighty waters of Niagara Falls.  Maybe now is the beginning of a new era for the Cataract City and the citizens still around hoping it comes to pass.

 

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