Wed October 2, 2013
Return of casino revenues brightens Falls budget outlook
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster appeared before the City Council Tuesday to deliver his budget. That's 11 months after a disaster budget, because the fight between Albany and the Seneca Nation had cut off the flow of casino revenues, depleting the city's cash.
Mayor Dyster said the casino money offers a way to help the city find a future of balanced revenues and expenditures.
"We're using $4.4 million in fund balance in order to plug a gap in this budget. That's down from what we used last year which was $4.9 million but it's still uncomfortably large," Dyster said.
"It was accumulated during past budget years when we were able to run in the black and accumulate a surplus which could be swept forward. We're not anticipating that we going to be able to do that in future years."
Niagara Falls City Council members immediately began to study the budget proposal.
"We always have to raise the tax base but if people are moving out that's another way we lose tax increases," said Council chairman Glenn Choolokian.
"We want to make the city safe, clean and taxes aren't high so that people come to live here. Economic development is a part of the picture. The main source of income as revenue is our tax base, people who live here. We don't want to drive people out. So, that's what we have to look at. We've got to do a combination of a lot of things."
The budget takes effect January 1 with council members usually completing their action by early December.