Officials in the City of Niagara Falls are now looking into a vote to cut funding to the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center saying the move may not have been allowed under the city's executive budget process. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on the issue and why the Mayor believes the vote was politically motivated.
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. --- "It's a bad decision taking away the budget out of here," music producer Tunez Wilson said Wednesday.
And as it turns out, the Niagara Falls City Council's decision to cut $30,000 from the
Niagara Arts and Cultural Center might not have been allowed either.
"It's got a lot of people raising issues whether this is simply an attempt to get at me, the Mayor, by going after organizations in the community that I support," Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said.
Monday, the council voted 3-to-2 to cut funding already appropriated in the city's approved 2013 executive budget.
"Now barely a month later, the council is trying to change the budget which is after all a local law," he said.
Dyster said that funding has gone to support the NACC for more than a decade, helping them to survive the winter months and that none of the $30,000 has come from taxpayer funds; rather, the city's bed tax to support tourism.
That means for the first time in awhile, despite claims to the contrary, the issue is in no way affected by a lack of casino funds.
"I have severe doubts sometimes about whether council members understand the budget that they themselves passed or if they even understand the process, frankly."
Ironically, two of three council members who voted the funding down are recognized on a plaque at the NACC.
Councilman Bob Anderson tells YNN he's a big supporter of the NACC, having helped to secure a new roof in 2007, but said Monday's cut was necessary in order to save money for future necessities. Anderson said the move was nothing personal, but Dyster believes it was politically motivated.
"That's exactly what I think is happening here, yes."
NACC officials said they have no plans to close their doors. Meanwhile, Dyster is issuing a challenge, asking 30 local businesses to donate $1,000 to help the NACC.
Our calls to City Council President Glenn Cholookian and Councilman Sam Fruscione were not returned.