Niagara Falls faces their "worst-case" budget head-on

November 1, 2012 Updated Nov 1, 2012 at 11:23 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By Rachel Elzufon

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November 1, 2012 Updated Nov 1, 2012 at 11:23 PM EDT

The City of Niagara Falls faces their "worst-case" budget head-on.

Mayor Paul Dyster (D) presented his bleak 2013 budget forecast to the city council just a few hours ago.

Dyster told council members they would have to cut into the meat and bones of the city, thanks to a several million dollar budget deficit.

The budget proposal comes a month late. Dyster says by taking so long to fine-tune the numbers, "as unpalatable as some of the measures presented here may seem, the overall package is far better and less painful product that what we started with in late summer and early fall."

First to go -- nearly two dozen jobs. Dyster cut 27.5 positions, 18.5 of which are filled -- including part-time employees. The final number -- 20 people laid off.

The layoffs came from street and sanitation workers as well as employees at the Department of Public Works and City Hall.

To top it off, the city will not be hiring dozens of seasonal and temp employees -- including lifeguards and people for recreational programs.

Firefighters and police officers will keep their jobs.

However, Council Member Charles Walker (D) tells Eyewitness News the council does not want to see anyone let go, saying "In talking with my colleagues we're determined to present a final budget that wouldn't have layoffs."

Dyster is also pitching at 8.3-percent tax hike for homeowners, bringing $2.7 million into the city.

However, Walker says that may not be possible due to a tax cap in the state.

The deep cuts all go back to an ongoing dispute between the Seneca Nation and New York State, leaving $60 million short in casino revenue.

Dyster calls this delay a "catastrophe" for the city, but vowed to get that money back.