For the first time in a few years, the Niagara Falls City Council has a new chairman. YNN's Antoinette DelBel explains how the council plans to work together in the year ahead.
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — The pound of a gavel Monday evening marked the end of a four-year stint as chairman for one Niagara Falls City Council member and the start of a new role for another.
"I'm looking forward to helping Niagara Falls get to that next level for success," said the newly-elected Council Chairman, Glenn Choolokian.
"He cares about the City of Niagara Falls,” said Ron Anderluh of Niagara Falls. “He knows the budget. He's always done his homework on any issue that comes up."
"Anytime we get a new chairman, it's always good," said former City Council Chairman Sam Fruscione.
City council members voted three to two for Choolokian to take on the leadership position as their new chairman.
"There's been sort of a gentleman's agreement in the past on the council that we would take turns at being chairman. This is my fourth year on the council and I have not been afforded the opportunity," said council member Kristen Grandinetti.
The appointment garnered support from the now former Chairman Sam Fruscione.
Fruscione has been on the council since 2006. He said Choolokian's been instrumental in dealing with different city concerns this past year.
"We worked together on a lot of issues, such as hydrofracking," said Fruscione. "He stepped up really big with us on the budget as well as during the community development budgets."
"It's going to be like he never left," said Choolokian. "We've been working all of us as a majority. We're just looking forward to doing everything as a team and to get our priorities in order for Niagara Falls."
And working as a team is something Choolokian said will be vital this year as they figure out ways to deal with the city's financial struggles.
"We had to be creative this year without the casino money," he said. "I know it's going to be a long battle between the Seneca Niagara and the State of New York, so we just got to be more creative, try to be more conservative, not spend money that we don't have, and look for other avenues to bring new revenue in."
Choolokian will hold his new position for the next 12 months.