SORT BY Relevancy
While the talk at the coffee shops was all about the weather the upcoming election is beginning to pick up some interest . John Accardo now a republican has announced his intentions to run for mayor of the city Niagara Falls.
Tom Stevenson has announced his intentions to run for town Council in the Town of Wheatfield. Tom, also a republican has been involved in politics for a long time. He is a former chairman of the city of Niagara Falls Republican committee.
The Niagara Gazette reported that Hamister has secured a $3.85 million grant through Empire State Development and is applying for $4.2 million in project savings, $2.9 million of which will come from property tax abatement. Some $4.2 million will come from company equity. Of the project's total cost, $31.2 million will be eligible for sales tax exemptions.
The Buffalo news reported on the Hotel Niagara. Owner Harry Stinson told the IDA that the downtown Niagara Falls hotel, which is to be renovated for a 2016 reopening, will rent rooms for student use, as part of a policy to “rent blocks of rooms to various groups for extended periods of time.” But they will continue to be hotel rooms, he said in a letter to the IDA. The college is to have a five-year lease on rooms for about 150 students.
The Buffalo news also reported on a meeting held Tuesday night (2/12/15) at the Niagara Falls Public Library on the potential future for the YMCA building on Portage Road as the new home of the Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission.
More than 100 people packed the auditorium of the Niagara Falls Public Library to hear from representatives of the mission, YMCA Buffalo Niagara and others about what’s being proposed.
One person that is gearing up for sure for this year's elections is our guest today Vince Sandonato. Vince is the chairman of the Niagara Falls Republican committee.
The people I spoke with were quick to complement police superintendent Brian DalPorto and his team in quickly solving the murder at the 3M club.
Now that the money issue has been resolved for the restoration of the Hyde Park Ice Pavilions people are wondering and asking what is the whole deal about. Many people did not know that the ice pavilions were being privately operated.
I'm letting people know that this year in Niagara County we have an election for Niagara County Clerk, Niagara County District Attorney, all the county legislators, the mayor's for the three cities of Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda and Lockport. Races for municipal boards and councils will also take place all over the county. In Niagara Falls we also have two positions for city court judge that will be on the ballot.
Only about 8000 people voted in the last governor's race. Learn all you can about what's going on with government and then go out and vote.
I will make every attempt to make sure that you the voters in Niagara County are aware of all the races. Today we're focusing on the mayor's race in the city of Niagara Falls and one of the challengers is our guest. So let me welcome Jim Szwedo one of the Republican candidates who have announced for the office of mayor of the city of Niagara Falls.
The frozen pipe issue is becoming a very hot item. For me it's starting to hit close to home because my neighbors waterlines froze up. My sister is without water and Grand Ave and Pine Ave are having problems.
At the coffee shop people just can't seem to figure out why a plan was not in place to address these issues
Not all frozen pipes can be attributed to recent road construction even if you consider the last decade. Neither the City nor the Water Board are in a position to assume responsibility or liability for all cold weather related water problems.
Some of the stories that I'm hearing, some related to price gouging, make me wonder why our city government and the Water Board haven't come up with a plan that not only addresses the issue but protects the consumer.
The Water Board should provide a list of competent, proven contractors with a set price. The first attempt should be without digging. It can be done by competent people that know what they are doing.
People are talking about the proposed dog park at former 39th Street School site.
The Niagara Falls City Council is taking as survey to evaluate residents priorities.
021715 Coffee Shop Report
Well, what most people are talking about at the coffee shops is the long stretch of cold weather we have had and with no end in sight.
In the publication Buffalo Rising, there is an article about development in downtown Niagara Falls.
At the same time The Investigative Post had an article by Charlotte Keith titled Falls Hotel Subsidies Defied Recommendations.
The article discusses recommendations made by consultants who produced a 2011 study regarding IDA subsidies for low budget hotels downtown
Niagara Falls City Council is having a Council meeting tonight .Let me give you some of the highlightsBesides change orders to the skating rink will eventually cost the city $11 million, the city Council is considering some self improvement efforts
A measure from Council chair Andy Touma that would move the time of council meetings back and hour, meaning that the administrative session would start at 6 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. and the legislative session would begin at 7 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.
the city Council is taking a poll that has a list of six questions regarding city government's performance on various issues. The poll is listed on the Niagara Falls city Council Facebook page and copies of it can also be found at the clerk's office as well as the billing and collections office.The City Council's Financial Advisory Panel has been announced. The names listed on the agenda item are: Janet Baker Scott, Francis Soda, Dr. Jay Walker, Doreen O’Connor, Carmen Granto, Samuel Granieri and Lawrence Cook II.
My listeners know that I've been very critical of the budget process as long as I've been on the radio. As a private citizen I've been critical of the budget process for the last seven years. The city Council should draft legislation that would establish a spending policy for Casino Revenues and legislation that would establish a rainy day fund.
As I mentioned during last week's Thursday show, some of the streets were being posted for snow removal. This after several weeks of talking about it on the show.I asked one of the truck drivers, other than the main streets, when was the last time that DPW posted streets to remove snow. He thought a while and he said "I really don't remember the last time". I reminded him that the last time was during the previous administration, he quickly smiled and agreed.
Yesterday, March 9, 2015 the city Council passed funding proposal for the completion of the Ice Pavilions restoration project.Before his vote, councilmember Anderson stated that it's for the kids and as you all know he loves kids. He stated that 40 years from now he doesn't want this to happen again, where we have to borrow money to make repairs. He said that some money should be set aside every year to take care of the ice pavilions. Sounds great doesn't it.Councilmembers Choolokian also stated that he loves kids and all he wanted was for this to be paid for casino revenues. Since now the loan is going to be paid for casino revenues he is okay with it. Sounds great doesn't it. Let me tear this apart a little bit. First of all, setting money aside for maintenance is a regular function of the yearly budget.Councilmembers Anderson and Choolokian have, with every budget, cut the budget lines for maintenance and parts. Never once have they supported a reserve fund for maintenance.
Councilmember Choolokian still doesn't realize that all debt is being paid for with casino money. It's been true since 2005.Now let's go to our guests, Mike Henderson and Norma Higgs Of the Niagara Falls Block Club Council.
Callers today concentrated on the city of Niagara Falls trash removal and recycling program. Everyone seems to agree that recycling is a great idea but, many people are dissatisfied with its implementation. The other hot topic was Niagara County's distribution of its share of casino revenues. A number of County leaders have made disparaging remarks about the city Niagara Falls and the Niagara County Legislature has decided that the city would not receive any portion of that revenue..The dissatisfaction has fallen on deaf ears because, many believe and argue, the four legislators that represent the city Niagara Falls are in the political minority.
With Niagara Falls City Councilman Andy Touma we discussed a number of past, present and future issues that impact the lives of Niagara Falls residents. We discussed the city's $10,000 grant to the Hard Rock Café New Year guitar drop celebration. We also discussed a number of budgetary issues.
I restated my position that in 2015 The Vince Anello Show will be about problem solving in our community.
We have already begun one such effort with a group of taxpayers who want to learn the process of the city of Niagara Falls budget. We will continue to meet the second Wednesday of every month to prepare for the 2016 budget process. 2015 will be the year that the Vince Anello Show will keep on the front burner issues such as, the Niagara Falls City Charter, Sanitation Cost, Healthcare Cost and a Spending Policy for Casino Revenues.
Councilmember Touma made a commitment that he will be on the show as often as possible, Councilman Walker once a month. Happy New Year
The Coffee Shop Report.
I'm going to talk about what I hear at our local Coffee Shops. Here is what I've heard in the coffee shops in the last few days.
One concern people have is that the YMCA is changing hands and possibly becoming a homeless shelter with about 100 rooms and it would house homeless men.
Another bit of news is the possible retirement of for our DPW director David Kinney. I'm sure that some people will miss him dearly.
People are talking about the library. It is financially strapped, the building needs major maintenance work and again this year the staff was reduced. Personally I believe that the city needs a library, a good library.
Some people are still talking about the remarks that the Jimmy Fallon made on the Tonight Show. He compared the city of Niagara Falls New York with the city of Niagara Falls Ontario and he did not have kind words for Niagara Falls, New York. Most people, though,agreed with the remarks. They say that he was right but we don't like to hear it.
I keep harping away about the casino money. I see casino money as the seed corn for future development in our city. If we keep using that resource for the day-to-day operation of the city in 5 to 10 years we will not have enough Casino Money either.
"The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,"
And in about 300 houses
no water could be found.
Frozen water lines are hitting many areas of the city. Not all frozen lines can be blamed on the N F Water Board or the City of Niagara Falls but, both parties throwing their hands up and saying that they will do another study is totally baffling.
why don't we have an organized plan with prequalified contractors.
Some people are bringing up examples of price gouging and unnecessary digging of people's properties. City leaders both at the Water Board and city government should be concerned.
Another concern seems to be that even though we have gone several weeks without any heavy snow some city streets are still very dangerous.
I realize it's been very, very, cold, I realize that snowplowing, especially on city's side streets, is a very difficult job but, people don't believe that there has been an aggressive effort to clear snow from our streets.
On Pine Avenue some of the curbs were cut Sunday night (3/3/15). This is the lack of effort that I've been criticizing because clearing up to the curbs has been sorely missing.
You don't have to create new laws, you don't need a Council resolution, all you need is to realize that for many parts of the city this issue has become a public safety concern and the Administration can handle it. The police department can Post "no parking" signs on alternate sides of the street and then DPW can clear it.
People would have advance notice and crews would clear whole section rather than hit and miss.
The coffee shop report
Well the issue of casino money and how we spend it is starting to capture the attention of not only the press but also social media.
For seven years now, I have been warning that we have to be vigilant in the use of casino revenues casino revenues are considered by the state comptroller to be nonrecurring revenues and should be treated as such.
In an article in the Niagara Gazette posted by Don Glynn he points out the concerns of Niagara Falls Ontario mayor Jim Diodati regarding the casino on Canadian side.
The article states that in the last four years revenues at the casino have dropped one hundred and one million. To counter that he is suggesting that the casino offer free beverages. In the past few weeks I've also heard that the revenues at the casino on our side have dropped.
Last Tuesday I said that in 5 to 10 years we would not have enough casino money to make up for funding of the day-to-day operation of the city
It is important to put the brakes on now. The city Council must legislate a spending policy that will ensure proper funding for the level of services that the taxpayers are asking for and expect.
Unfortunately, when it comes to governing our city, the blessing of casino revenue has caused some negative side effects. We are developing the habits of the stereotypical spoiled rich kid. When the kid goofs up his dad's money can smooth it over. Our city government is developing the same characteristics. Inefficiencies in some departments are smooth over with casino money. Poorly implemented efforts or contracts are propped up with casino money. Noise created by dissatisfaction within the workforce is muffled with casino money. Do overs, are done over with casino money.
We will talk about the City Engineer position, the $500,000 of Casino money for temporary positions and the Sweet Team. As I've been saying for many years, including my time in office, a casino revenue spending policy is necessary. Legitimate, transparent governments have written policies to establish their responsibilities and the method for carrying out those responsibilities.
Sanitation, recycling and clean neighborhoods is one of our latest fiasco's
Employee Healthcare benefits is another issue. Healthcare is so expensive and complicated that the unions and the city formed a committee in 2006 to address healthcare issues separate from the negotiations of regular bargaining agreements. The city has failed to hold regular meetings to find ways of reducing cost.
Another long standing pet peeve of mine is the Niagara Falls city charter.
That effort was led by Councilwoman Barbara Geracitano and myself. The law department has managed to stall that effort, even though the work was done 17 years ago.
Let's make 2015 the year of change, change in attitude of our public officials, financial discipline, and a plan that is clear enough to where we can clearly understand where we are going
The coffee shop report is going to be somewhat abbreviated for several reasons. Nobody's talking at the coffee shop because it's too cold. When they were talking the big thing was voting down the money for the completion of the work at the Hyde Park Ice Pavilions.
In LaSalle it's all about the frozen water pipes. We can talk about that.
The unrestricted $1 million that Niagara County received is becoming a hot item. The Niagara County Legislature is looking to exclude the city of Niagara Falls from receiving any of those funds.
What I would like to talk about this morning is Councilman Choolokian's letter to the editor in yesterday's Niagara Gazette (2/23/15).
I would like to take the liberty to critique it. I believe that my experience with Councilman Choolokian while serving as mayor will give you, the listener, and hopefully a voter, an inside look on how he really operates and how much his service to our city has cost and will cost the taxpayers of Niagara Falls. As mayor, I had the most transparent way of governing and my open door policy was second to none. It was Councilman Choolokian that refused to come in and discuss agenda items. Instead he would invent facts and then grandstand at the council meetings with the remaining members of the cabal cheering him on.
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