NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Niagara Falls’ financial troubles are far from over, even after learning that casino money will be flowing again.
Since a panel of arbitrators ruled in favor of the state over casino revenue, council members have been looking at ways to fix the city’s spending problems.
Councilman Chris Voccio believes an outside panel could help. He presented a resolution that would create a panel made up of about 10 business people to look at how the city’s government is run and provide recommendations.
“We’ve been spending too much money as a city and we need to rightsize government. An outside group, private sector people, who are used to doing things in the business world would come in with a fresh perspective. Whatever they discovered in their discovery process, the city council would have to vote on that to approve that,” said Voccio.
Voccio’s measure, however, was voted down at the last council meeting.
Councilman Bill Kennedy said while the proposal was very well intentioned, he voted against it.
“I didn’t have an issue with the actual resolution. I voted it down because I felt like that was, what was described in the resolution, the job of the city council,” said Kennedy.
The five person council is now back to the drawing board, left to figure out how to manage casino dollars. It’s still not known when that money is coming in or how much it will be.
“Casino revenue is intended for economic development for infrastructure and that’s what I would love to see it used for, but instead we’re using it to close a $10 million hole in our budget,” said Voccio.
While the council still has several months to make changes, they say they’re looking to end the city’s financial troubles once and for all.
“We’re trying, we’re looking at every single thing that we can to try and find something to generate revenue,” said Kennedy.