NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - The holdup of casino cash is forcing Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster to call for layoffs in the Honeymoon Capital. He presented his "disaster budget" on Thursday.
To prevent hundreds of layoffs, Mayor Dyster is calling for a hefty tax increase: 8.3 percent for homesteads and 5 percent for non-homesteads.
"Public safety and other essential services will continue to be delivered as the taxpayers expect. In some cases, there will have to be an adjustment at the level of services the city is able to provide based on the resources we have to provide them," Mayor Dyster said.
The proposed $83 million budget, which is $2.4 million less than the previous year, spares firefighters and police officers from layoffs.
Mayor Dyster said, "If these numbers are starting to make your head spin, please know I'm sympathetic. This is why I call this a 'disaster budget.'"
Under the plan, about 20 city employees will lose their jobs and nine more jobs will be eliminated through attrition. But even these jobs being cut will be devastating, says municipal union president Ferris Anthony.
"We don't have the people to maintain our roads and streets and sidewalks and then City Hall. Not one other department was touched. Not one. They won't be the top dog that makes $35,000 or $40,000. They're going to be the ones that are making $22,000 and $23,000 and they're going to lose their jobs," Anthony said.
And though police and fire personnel are in the clear, according to Civil Service and contract rules, the city cannot hire seasonal workers until the laid-off employees are rehired. That will mean no aides for recreational summer programs, no public pool lifeguards and no seasonal public works crews.
The mayor is still hopeful the state will come to the city's aid with a low interest loan or an advance on state aid. He continues to work with Governor Andrew Cuomo's office. Dyster is also hopeful casino revenue, which has been withheld from NYS since 2009, will be freed up through arbitration.
City lawmakers now have 30 days to review Mayor Dyster's proposed budget and possibly make changes. Until now, his administration has held the line on taxes.
A jury has convicted 16-year-old Dylan Schumaker of second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's young son.
Police say a Mercedes Benz was making a left turn, when it failed to yield the right of way and struck the police car.
Deputies say they found 43 bags of crack cocaine when they executed a search warrant on a vehicle in Orleans County.
Lake Effect Snow Warning for S. Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Wyoming counties from Tues evening until Thurs morning
A Buffalo city jail cell block attendant was arrested early Saturday morning on multiple animal cruelty charges.
More than a dozen Buffalo teachers and a few parents picketed outside the home of NY State Regent Bob Bennett on Monday because he is a staunch supporter of Common Core standardized testing.