NIAGARA FALLS - The City Council majority on Tuesday tabled a measure that would allow the city to be reimbursed by the federal government for some already incurred expenses of the new train station project.
In July, the Council majority tabled a measure that would have paid the city's consultant about $400,000 of the nearly $1.1 million in services its provided for the project. Ninety-five percent of that amount is reimbursable by the state.
Mayor Paul A. Dyster said that while he does not believe the lack of action cripples the project, the Council putting off a vote does create "a huge amount of uncertainty" with a project that's been years in the making and for which a significant amount of money from others has already been spent.
"There was no reason for council not to vote on that," Dyster said after Tuesday's Council meeting.
The mayor offered his version of why he believes the measure was tabled.
Dyster, pictured at right, said he sees a pattern of behavior by the Council majority "against anything that advances the city in any way," pointing to the Hamister development proposal and the train station as examples.
He said the majority's decision making "seems more about politics than economic development."
“I don’t know if that’s for some political reason or they’re hoping if they attack the developer enough that they’ll drop out,” Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster told The Buffalo News on Tuesday night. “Why you would want to do that?”
Three of the four candidates in running in the Democratic primary for Niagara Falls City Council participated in a debate hosted by The Buffalo News on Friday.
Incumbents Sam Fruscione and Charles Walker, along with challenger Andrew Touma talked about issues including economic development, tourism and the city's reputation. Incumbent Kristen Grandinetti did not participate due to illness.
Watch the entire debate, broken down into segments:
A candidates forum was held Monday night at the Rapids Theatre for seven City Council hopefuls. (Read the story.)
I've got the first three hours of the event on my digital audio recorder.
Let's start with the opening statements from each of the seven candidates. (In order of speaking: Samuel F. Fruscione, Vincent M. Sandonato, Charles A. Walker, Kristen M. Grandinetti, Andrew P. Touma, Robert J. Elder and Russell F. Vesci)
The Democratic candidates for Niagara Falls City Council competing in September's primary will appear in a live debate on BuffaloNews.com later this month.
Incumbents Sam Fruscione, Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker, along with challenger Andrew Touma, have accepted invitations to participate in a debate hosted by The Buffalo News. It will be held at 1 p.m. Aug. 30.
The video will be streamed on BuffaloNews.com and here on The Brink blog. Reporters Aaron Besecker and Brian Meyer will moderate.
Questions from readers are being accepted for use in the debate. Send your ideas for questions to firstname.lastname@example.org by Aug. 27.
Wednesday night's City Council meeting in Niagara Falls turned into something of a spectacle - not only for what business was or wasn't taken up, but for how lawmakers behaved.
I've broken down the Council's discussion during a vote that would remove from the table a proposed development deal with the Hamister Group for a $25 million mixed-use project downtown. The vote failed with the three-member Council majority voting to keep the proposed agreement on the table.
Let's start with Councilman Robert A. Anderson Jr., who gives a quick "no" vote, and then Councilman Samuel F. Fruscione, who has a bit of a back-and-forth with Mayor Paul A. Dyster at the end of his comments.
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Aaron Besecker joined The Buffalo News in 2007, where he has covered communities in Western New York as a beat reporter, multimedia journalist and assistant online editor. A Buffalo native, he began his career in journalism at the Niagara Gazette.