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Funding cut from cultural center over protest of residents

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Buffalo: Funding cut from cultural center over protest of residents
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A cultural center in Niagara Falls faced thousands of dollars in budget cuts that could cripple its services. YNN's Natalia Martinez was at a packed meeting at City Hall where more than 200 people showed up to try and save the NACC.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — "It's offensive that its even a debate," said Megan Van Wormen.

Van Wormen, a mother of, five was furious over City Council's move to cut $30,000 to the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center.

"We don't have a lot here in the city of Niagara Falls for the children to do, we don't have a lot of cultural things."

It was standing room only. Supporters weren't shy. They told the council how the NAAC has helped provide a place for children and artists.

"The politicians in charge of Niagara Falls don't seem to care about the good things being done," said Gary Wolfe, former president, Buffalo Society of Artists.

Mayor Paul Dyster said the $30,000 had already been approved in the budget, but the council wanted that changed.

"The $30,000 for the NAAC is absolutely vital to them," said Dyster, (D).

The NACC is funded by bed taxes. Steven Fleck, a hotel owner, says he's glad to pitch in for the center.

"For them to squabble over something like this, $30,000 doesn't seem like a whole lot," said Fleck.

The mayor said he's never seen City Hall this packed before and was proud of the citizens who showed up, despite the council vote.

"They've been being bullied by their elected officials they made it clear tonight that they've had enough of it."

During the meeting, one little girl got up and told them that the NAAC helps people get jobs and children follow their dreams, but despite the urging from some residents, the vote was 3 to 2 to cut the money.

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